Feb. 27, 2012
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team wraps up the home portion of its 2011-12 regular season by hosting TCU on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The sixth-place Cowboys (19-9, 5-7) look to give a distinguished class of six seniors a victory in their final home game, but also have a chance to move up in the tight standings of up the Mountain West. The fourth-place Horned Frogs (17-11, 7-5) are one of the hottest teams in the conference right now with wins in four of their last five contests, but are just 1-5 on the road in league play this season.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at WyomingAthletics.com. Fans can also follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's games, as well as live video of the postgame press conference, through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised on The Mtn.
A Look at the Matchup
After being on the wrong end of four close decisions, the Pokes rebounded with a dominant 64-54 win over Boise State at home last Saturday. UW led by double digits midway through the second half before a late run by the Broncos, but free throws down the stretch gave UW its 14th home win of the season. The Cowboys held their 13th opponent of the season below 30 percent beyond the arc. The victory kept Wyoming sixth in the MW standings at 5-7 and 19-9 overall. UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State are tied atop the conference at 8-4. Wyoming's statistical numbers on the defensive end have slipped a little with the higher competition of the MW, but the Cowboys continue to keep opponents off the scoreboard. UW has held 27 of its 28 foes below their season scoring average. The Pokes were fourth in scoring defense (54.6 ppg) in the latest NCAA rankings and 27th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.3). Both marks rank in the top three of the Mountain West. Offensively, UW is 19th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (75.4), 27th in turnover margin (+3.0) and 44th in scoring margin (+8.5).
TCU enters the week as one of the hottest teams in the Mountain West with a 17-11 overall and 7-5 MW record for fourth in the conference standings. The Horned Frogs won their second-straight home contest against a ranked foe last Saturday with an 83-64 upset of No. 18/21 New Mexico and also knocked off No. 11 UNLV, 102-97, in overtime on Feb. 14. TCU has won four of its last five games, including four that have been decided by less than five points, but is 1-5 on the road in MW play this season. Offensively, the Horned Frogs rank third in the conference in scoring offense at 71.7 points per game, while placing third in free throw percentage (69.6) and assists (13.9). Beyond the arc, TCU is fourth in three point percentage at 37.0 and fourth in threes per game (7.2). Defensively, the Horned Frogs rank last in the MW in scoring defense (69.8), field goal percentage defense (46.9) and three-point field goal percentage defense (38.0). TCU is second in turnover margin at plus 2.3.
Each Team's Leaders
The trio of redshirt juniors Luke Martinez and Leonard Washington and senior guard Francisco Cruz have led the charge for Wyoming's offense this season. Martinez and Washington are both averaging 12.4 points per game, but in different ways. Washington is UW's inside presence with a team-high 6.8 rebounds, while Martinez hits a MW-high 2.7 threes. Cruz is an all-around threat, averaging 3.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and nearly one steal during a team-high 32 minutes per game. UW's two other probable starters, seniors Adam Waddell and JayDee Luster, have been standouts on the defensive end. Waddell is averaging 9.5 points and 3.3 rebounds to go with a block per game, while Luster has held eight of the 12 opposing players he has guarded during MW play below their scoring average. Washington scored his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Boise State, while Cruz notched a game-high 16 points and Martinez added 10.
Several Horned Frogs have upped their play during the conference season, including senior guards Hank Thorns and J.R. Cadot. Thorns ranks eighth in the MW in scoring (13.1), third in assists (4.7), and fourth in three-point percentage (39.6) and threes per game (2.1). He plays the second-most minutes in the league at 33.5 per game. Cadot is fifth in rebounds (7.0), including third in offensive rebounds (2.8), while ranking sixth in steals (1.6) to go with 10.9 points per game. The two are the only Horned Frogs to start all 28 games, as seven TCU players have at least 10 starts. Freshman guard Kyan Anderson and senior forward Craig Williams both add 8.0 points per game, while junior forward Connell Crossland rounds out TCU's probable starters at 2.3 points and 3.4 rebounds. Anderson ranks eight in the MW in assists at 3.0 and Williams is second on the team at 3.7 rebounds. Six Horned Frogs scored in double figures against New Mexico, including a double-double by Cadot with 15 and 10.
About the Series
The home team has dominated the all-time series between the Cowboys and Horned Frogs. Wyoming is 1-8 in Fort Worth, while TCU is 1-6 in Laramie. UW is 3-7 in its last 10 meetings with TCU, including a 58-52 road loss on Feb. 1. Washington had 21 points in that game and the Cowboys went back and forth with the Horned Frogs all night, but ultimately couldn't hit shots down the stretch to keep pace.
Wyoming plays its final game of the regular season at UNLV on Saturday at 8 p.m.