Feb. 27, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team looks to break out of a three-team tie for fourth in the Mountain West standings when the Cowboys host Boise State on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (17-11, 8-7 MW) and Broncos (18-10, 8-7 MW) are tied with Nevada at 8-7 in conference play, just one game behind UNLV. The last two meetings between Wyoming and Boise State have been decided on a last-second shot.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com. Fans can follow live stats, audio and video of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by CBS Sports Network. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming enters the weekend tied for fourth in the Mountain West standings at 8-7 in the conference and 17-11 overall after a 55-53 loss to Air Force on Tuesday at home. It was the sixth conference game decided by a single basket this season for the Cowboys. The Pokes trailed the Falcons by four at halftime, but came out of the break with a 7-2 run to go back in front, 32-29. The two teams would exchange the lead nine more times down the stretch until Air Force made five free throws for a 54-50 lead with 20 seconds left. A three brought UW back within one and the Falcons made just one of their free throws with 11 seconds left to give the Cowboys a chance to tie or win. Wyoming had a shot from the right side of the arc, but it bounced off the front of the rim and AF grabbed the rebound to seal the win. For the season, Wyoming's 48 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 17th in the nation, while its 37 percent from deep is third and 65.0 points per game are 10th. UW's 72 percent at the free throw line is seventh. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 15th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.5 points per game and fourth in the league in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent. UW's 31 percent three-point defense is third in the conference and 44th in the nation.
Head coach Leon Rice and Boise State are also tied for fourth in the MW standings at 8-7 in conference play and 18-10 overall. Most recently, the Broncos had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 76-56 loss at Fresno State on Wednesday. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 46-25 lead at halftime thanks to shooting 48 percent (27-of-56) from the field and 58 percent (11-of-19) from deep for the game. The Broncos earned a 35-28 advantage on the boards, but committed 12 turnovers to just four for Fresno State. On the season, Boise State's 76.9 points per game lead the MW and rank 39th in the NCAA. The Broncos shoot 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep for second in the conference in both categories. Defensively, BSU allows 69.8 points per game for eighth in the MW on 46 and 37 percent, respectively, as the Broncos are last in the conference in both field goal defense and three-point defense. The Broncos lead the MW and are 13th in the nation in free throw percentage at 76 percent. Boise State's 9.9 turnovers per game are 11th in the NCAA.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Nathan Sobey scored in double figures for a third-straight game with 18 points against Air Force. He averages 8.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this season, but has contributed 19.6 points over the last three contests. Wyoming is paced by sophomore guard Josh Adams at 11.3 points and 2.8 assists per game. He reached double figures for the 10th time in MW play with 11 points versus the Falcons. UW's other scorer in double figures is junior guard Riley Grabau at 11.3 points and 2.2 assists per game. He shoots 45 percent beyond the arc, while his 2.4 threes per game are third in the MW. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. grabs a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game, including 11 versus AFA, and adds 5.6 points. Junior forward Matt Sellers made his first career start at Wyoming against the Falcons.
Junior guard Anthony Drmic paces Boise State at 16.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, but scored just two points against Fresno State. He ranks fourth in the MW in scoring and second in steals at 1.7 per contest. Junior guard Derrick Marks is second on the team and 11th in the league at 15.3 points per game, as he was held to four points by the Bulldogs. Senior forward Ryan Watkins averages a double-double at 11.4 points and 10.7 rebounds. He ranks second in the MW and sixth in the NCAA in rebounds, while his 12.5 boards per game in MW play lead the league. Redshirt sophomore guard Mikey Thompson posted a team-high 21 points against the Bulldogs, as he averages 9.2 points and 2.5 assists per game. Freshman forward Nick Duncan rounds out BSU's probable starters at 5.6 points and 2.5 rebounds.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Boise State, 11-7, including a 7-2 mark in Laramie. In the last meeting between the two, the Cowboys earned a dramatic 52-50 win in Boise on Jan. 11. After trailing by five with three minutes left, the Cowboys closed the game on a 9-2 run to hand the Broncos their second home loss of the season. Wyoming's Larry Nance Jr. hit the game-winning shot from the baseline with 1.6 seconds left in the game.
The Cowboys play at Utah State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT.