LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team wraps up the road portion of the regular season at UNLV and is looking to break another streak. The Cowboys (13-16, 6-10 MW) have not beat the Rebels (16-13, 7-9 MW) in the Thomas & Mack Center since 2003 for a string of 14-straight losses, but two of the last three contests in the building have been decided by single digits. Of course Wyoming also hadn’t won in The Pit since 2003, before taking down New Mexico, 70-68, on Jan. 16. Saturday’s tip is set for 6 p.m. MT.
Fans can follow live stats, audio and ESPN3 video through the gameday central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming stand eighth in the MW standings at 13-16 overall and 6-10 in league play after a 73-61 loss to RV/RV San Diego State last Wednesday. The Cowboys suffered just their seventh loss by double digits this season, as the Aztecs clinched the MW regular-season title with the victory. The contest looked to be another nail biter for the Pokes down eight at 62-54 with five minutes left. That would be as close as Wyoming would get down the stretch, though, as SDSU hit a big three with just under two minutes remaining and added free throws to hold on. Wyoming shot 47 percent (20-of-43) from the field and 39 percent (10-of-26) from deep for its fifth-straight game with at least 10 triples. The Pokes managed just 58 percent (11-of-19) at the free-throw line, though, and have connected on less than 70 percent in their last four contests. SDSU won the battle on the boards, 37-28, and had 20 points off turnovers, the second most for a Cowboy foe this season. Wyoming’s five assists were a season low, while its one steal tied a season low. On the season, Wyoming averages 70.3 points on 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep. The Cowboys rank first in the conference and 41st nationally beyond the arc, while their 10.1 triples per game are first in the MW and 10th in the NCAA. The Pokes turn the ball over just 11.3 times per game, good for first in the MW and 42nd in the NCAA. Defensively, Wyoming allows 71.2 points on 43 and 35 percent, respectively. Wyoming’s 18.5 fouls per game are third in the MW and 108th nationally.
Interim head coach Todd Simon and UNLV are seventh in the conference at 16-13 overall and 7-9 in MW play. The Rebels are 7-6 under Simon, including most recently an 81-69 loss at Boise State last Tuesday. UNLV trailed by just one at halftime, but went cold from deep after the break and made just 2-of-11 threes in the second half. Overall, UNLV scores 77.8 points per game on 44 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep. The Rebels rank fourth in the MW in field goal percentage, while their 15.1 assists per game are second in the conference and 73rd in the NCAA. Defensively, UNLV allows 71.2 points per game, as it limits foes to 41 percent from the field and 32 percent beyond the arc for third and fourth, respectively, in the conference. The Rebels’ 8.3 steals per game lead the MW and rank 15th in the NCAA and their 5.5 blocks are second and 14th, respectively. UNLV owns a plus 1.6 turnover margin for third in the MW.
Each Team’s Leaders
The reigning MW Player of the week, Josh Adams posted 27 points and five threes against the Aztecs last Wednesday. The senior guard’s 24.6 points per game this season lead the MW and rank fourth in the nation, as he is a leading candidate for MW Player of the Year. He ranks in the top 10 of 11 MW statistical categories, including first in threes per game at 3.2, fourth in three-point percentage at 39 and second in assists per game at 4.1. His threes per game are also 14th in the nation. Junior guard Jason McManamen broke back-to-back 20 point games with just 10 against SDSU. He is a deep threat as well, as his team-high 46 percent from three paces the MW and is 12th in the NCAA, while his 3.0 triples per game are second and 26th, respectively. McManamen averages 13.9 points per game for 12th in the league and has averaged 4.7 threes made over the last seven games. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon had two blocks versus the Aztecs and averages nearly one per game for 10th in the MW. He is third on the team at 7.7 points and second at 4.9 rebounds. Sophomores Jeremy Lieberman and Jonathan Barnes were UW’s other starters against SDSU, as the Pokes went with the same starting lineup for a fifth-straight game.
Sophomore guard Patrick McCaw paces the Rebels at 14.0 points per game for 11th in the league with a team-high 60 made threes this season. His 3.9 assists per game are fourth in the MW, while his 2.6 steals are first in the conference and fourth in the NCAA. McCaw had six points, 12 rebounds and four assists versus Boise State. Freshman forward Derrick Jones Jr. is second on the squad at 11.1 points per contest to go with 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He had 25 points, seven rebounds and four stuffs against the Broncos. Freshman forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr., the MW Preseason Freshman of the Year, adds 10.3 points per game and 1.4 blocks as well, but has missed the last five games with an injury. Senior guard Ike Nwamu rounds out UNLV’s double figure scorers at 10.3 points per contest. He had 13 points and three triples at Boise State. Like the Cowboys, the Rebels have had seven different lineups this season.
About the Series
The Cowboys trail the Rebels in the all-time series, 17-35, including just 3-24 in Las Vegas. Wyoming has lost its last 14 games against UNLV in the Thomas & Mack, dating back to 2003, but two of the last three contests have been decided by single digits. The last meeting between the two programs was a 59-57 Wyoming win on Jan. 9. The Pokes trailed by 17 midway through the first half, but held the Rebels to just three field goals in the last 11 minutes of the game. Four Cowboys scored in double figures, led by McManamen’s 17 points. Adams had 12.
Wyoming hosts San Jose State for Senior Night on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.