March 3, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Still in the hunt for a top-five finish in the Mountain West, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team plays its final road game of the regular season at Utah State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT in the Smith Spectrum. The Cowboys (17-12, 8-8 MW) continue to seek their highest finish in the MW since 2002-03, while the Aggies (16-13, 6-11 MW) look to avenge a 74-57 loss to the Pokes on Feb. 1 in Laramie.
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 ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming sits tied for fifth in the Mountain West standings at 8-8 in the conference and 17-12 overall after a 72-63 loss to Boise State on Saturday at home. The Pokes have had 18 games decided by single digits this season, while holding a lead or being tied in all 12 losses. Against the Broncos, the Cowboys scored their most first-half points of the MW season, as both teams shot over 50 percent from the field in the opening half. Boise State maintained that pace in the second half with 60 percent from the field and 63 percent from deep, while holding Wyoming to 27 percent and no threes on three attempts in the half. Despite the shooting woes, the Cowboys were within six with 2:46 left. Boise State would close the game with a 6-3 run, though, to take the victory. Boise State's 56 percent (27-of-48) from the field and 50 percent (8-of-16) from deep were both season highs for a Wyoming opponent. The Broncos outrebounded the Pokes 31-18, including 23-7 in the second half, and earned a 19-0 advantage in bench points. For the season, Wyoming's 48 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 20th in the nation, while its 37 percent from deep is third and 64.9 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 16th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.9 points per game and fourth in the league in field goal percentage defense at 41 percent. UW's 31 percent three-point defense is third in the conference and 48th in the nation.
Head coach Stew Morrill and Utah State are ninth in the Mountain West at 6-11 in league play and 16-13 overall. The Aggies had a four-game losing streak in league play, but broke it with a 75-58 victory at San Jose State on Saturday. Utah State led 39-28 at halftime, but the Spartans fought back within six points at 47-41 with 13:31 left. That would be the closest USU would led SJSU get, as the Aggies used a 10-2 spurt that put them up 57-43 with 9:21 to go. On the season, Utah State scores 70.3 points per game for eighth in the MW, as the Aggies shoot 46 percent from the field and 41 percent from deep to rank third and first, respectively, in the MW. The Aggies are second in the NCAA in three-point percentage, while leading the MW and ranking ninth in the nation at 16.4 assists per game. Defensively, the Aggies' 66.8 points allowed per game are fourth in the MW, while they allow opponents to shoot 42 percent from the field for fifth and 32 percent from deep for third. USU's plus 6.0 rebounding margin leads the MW and is 18th nationally, while its plus 1.5 assist-to-turnover margin is second in the MW.
Each Team's Leaders
Sophomore guard Josh Adams posted a career-high 29 points against Boise State on Saturday, as his 11.9 points and 2.7 assists per game both lead Wyoming. Junior guard Riley Grabau also averages in double figures at 11.1 points per game and adds 2.3 assists. Grabau's 2.3 threes per game are fourth in the MW, while his 89 percent at the free throw line leads the MW and ranks 15th in the NCAA. Senior guard Nathan Sobey averages 8.6 points per, but has scored in double figures in three of Wyoming's last four games, including a career-high 26 points against Fresno State on Feb. 18. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.'s team-high 5.8 rebounds rank 17th in the MW, as he adds 5.8 points per game as well. Redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry has stepped into a starting role after junior forward Larry Nance Jr.'s injury and averages 5.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest.
Senior center Jarred Show posted 19 points and 17 rebounds at San Jose State on Saturday, as he leads Utah State at 14.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He ranks 13th in the MW in points, seventh in rebounds and fourth in field goal percentage at 48 percent. Senior guard Preston Medlin added 12 points and three assists versus the Spartans to reach his average of 12.8 points per game, while his 4.2 assists per game are second in the MW. Medlin's 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio is second in the MW and 16th in the NCAA. Senior guard Spencer Butterfield contributes 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but notched a game-high 22 points versus the Spartans. Sophomore Kyle Davis is second on the team and ninth in the MW at 7.5 rebounds per game and adds 9.3 points and 1.2 blocks, while senior guard TeNale Roland rounds out Utah State's probable starters at 5.2 points and 2.8 assists per game.
About the Series
The Pokes lead the all-time series against the Aggies, 45-23, including a 16-16 mark in Logan. Wyoming is 7-3 in its last 10 meetings with USU and won the last meeting, 74-57, on Feb. 1 in Laramie. UW's Josh Adams paced four Cowboys in double figures with 19 points in that game.
The Cowboys conclude the regular season by hosting Border War rival Colorado State on Saturday at 2 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.