March 4, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team concludes regular-season action by hosting Border War rival Colorado State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (18-11, 4-11 MW) seek to avenge a 65-46 loss earlier this season in Fort Collins, while the Rams (22-7, 9-5 MW) attempt to hang on to second place in the MW standings. The Cowboys will honor their seniors prior to the game.
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 and live video of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The live video is subject to blackout. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by ROOT Sports (Optimum: channel 23; DirecTV: 683; Dish Network: 414). Check your cable or satellite provider for channel info.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming is seventh in the MW standings at 18-11 overall and 4-11 in conference play, after four-straight losses. Most recently, the Pokes lost a 53-42 game at then-No. 14/14 New Mexico last Saturday in The Pit. Wyoming hung with the Lobos and cut the lead to eight with 3:28 left, but UNM quickly pushed the lead back to double digits and held on down the stretch to clinch a share of the MW regular-season title. Wyoming struggled from the field and committed its second-most fouls of the season with 22. The Pokes had season lows of three free throws made and seven attempted, while the Lobos hit on 21 of their 27 free throws. UW's defense has been its strength this season, allowing just 56.9 points per game for first in the MW and 12th in the NCAA. Two of its last four opponents have scored over 70, though, and three have shot over 50 percent from the field. Still, the Pokes are fourth in the MW in three-point defense at 31.4 and blocks at 3.6. Offensively, Wyoming ranks eight in the MW in points at 60.4 per game, as five of its lowest point totals of the season have come in conference play. UW's 6.6 threes per game are third in the MW, though. The Cowboys lead the league in turnover margin at plus 2.4, as their 11.2 turnovers per game rank 29th in the NCAA. UW's 15.0 personal fouls per game are 19th in the nation.
Head coach Larry Eustachy and the Rams enter the week at 22-7 overall and 9-5 in conference play for second in the MW standings. Colorado State climbed into the top-25 rankings recently, but has lost three of its last four games to drop into the receiving votes category. The Rams are impressive 15-1 at home this season, but are 5-6 on the road. In its latest action, Colorado State lost a 78-65 game at Boise State last Saturday for its first double-digit loss of the season. The Rams led 36-35 at halftime, but BSU's Derrick Marks tallied 24 consecutive points for the Broncos and helped them outscore CSU, 44-29, in the second half. The Ram offense is one of the most balanced in the MW, ranking second in the MW at 73.3 points per game on 45 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc. CSU's plus 10.7 scoring margin leads the MW and ranks 31th nationally. Defensively, the Rams allow 62.7 points for fifth in the MW on 40 percent and 34 percent, respectively, for opponents. CSU is one of the top rebounding teams in the NCAA, as its 41.1 rebounds lead the MW and its plus 12.2 rebounding margin leads the nation.
Each Team's Leaders
The Cowboys continue to go the way of senior forward Leonard Washington. He missed two games with an ankle injury, returned with 15 points and 13 rebounds at Air Force last Tuesday, but was limited to no points and two rebounds at New Mexico with a back injury. Washington paces the Pokes at 13.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.4 steals per game, all of which rank in the top 11 of the MW stats. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore has struggled from the field recently but still averages 11.8 points and 2.6 assists. His 2.2 threes per game and 35 percent beyond the arc both rank fourth in the MW. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. is second on the team at 6.9 rebounds to go with 9.4 points and nearly one block per game. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau averages a team high 2.6 assists and adds 5.9 points, as his 14 points at New Mexico were a career high. Freshman guard Josh Adams contributes 6.2 points and is known for making big plays in key moments for Wyoming. Nance grabbed 10 rebounds against the Lobos and added two assists and two blocks.
Four of Colorado State's five starters average in double figures, led by senior center Colton Iverson at 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds. He leads the MW and ranks 20th in the nation in rebounds, while his 57 percent from the field leads the MW and ranks 19th in the nation. He is complimented by senior forward Pierce Hornung, who is second in the MW and 38th nationally in rebounds with 9.1 per game to go with 9.0 points. He leads the MW at 4.3 offensive rebounds per game. CSU's other forward is senior Greg Smith at 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds. Senior Dorian Green runs the points for the Rams with a team-high 4.1 assists and 13.3 points. He is third in the MW in assists and second in assist-turnover ratio at plus 2.2. Fellow senior guard Wes Eikmeier is one of the top three-point threats in the conference at 12.4 points per game. He also leads the MW during conference play at 93.6 percent from the free throw line. Smith was one of four Rams in double figures against Boise State with a team-high 17 points, while Green added 15, Eikmeier had 14 and Iverson with 12.
About the Series
Saturday will be the 219th meeting between the Pokes and Rams. UW has a 128-90 advantage in the all-time series, including 74-34 in Laramie. Wyoming is 16-14 against Colorado State in MW play, as 18 of the contests have been decided by six points or less and 12 by three or less. Four games have gone to overtime. Wyoming is 3-7 in its last 10 meetings with CSU, including a 65-46 loss in Fort Collins on Feb. 2 in the last matchup.
Wyoming is off for the weekend, before beginning play at the 2013 Mountain West Championships on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.