March 5, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy basketball team will close out the 2009-10 regular season this Saturday afternoon by traveling to Las Vegas and taking on the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. (MT) from the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be televised live by Versus.
Saturday's game at UNLV will be a warm-up trip of sorts, as the Cowboys will return to Las Vegas next week for the 2010 Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball Championship.
After picking up a 58-49 home win over Air Force this past Tuesday, the Cowboys improved to 10-19 overall and 3-12 in the Mountain West Conference. That win broke an eight-game losing streak for the Pokes.
UNLV has had a week to prepare for the Cowboys after beating Air Force 77-47 last Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Runnin' Rebels are currently 22-7 overall and 10-5 in league games. They have won three consecutive games dating back to Feb. 20. They are receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top-25 Coaches' Poll.
True freshman Desmar Jackson has been nothing short of spectacular for the Cowboys over the last 10 games. During that stretch he has averaged 18.3 points per game and has scored in double figures nine times.
Jackson is currently the fifth best scoring freshman in the MWC with a season average of 11.3 points per game. That average also ranks No. 15 among all players in the league. Thus far this season, Jackson has scored 327 points and currently ranks No. 11 all-time among MWC freshmen.
Senior Ryan Dermody played one of his best games of the season this past Tuesday in leading the Cowboys to a win over Air Force. On his senior night, he scored 12 second half points on four three pointers. He also scored his 500th career point and pulled down his 300th career rebound in the game.
A pair of Cowboys currently rank among the MWC's best rebounders. Sophomore Adam Waddell ranks No. 10 with 5.5 per game and junior Djibril Thiam ranks No. 13 with 5.1. Both Waddell and Thiam are also contributing 9.7 points per game on the offensive end. Thiam has scored in double figures in five of the last six games.
UNLV is led by the second leading scorer in the MWC, junior guard Tre'Von Willis. Willis is averaging 17.6 points per game and has increased that average to 20.3 in MWC games. Sophomore forward Chace Stanback is UNLV's second leading scorer with 10.5 points per game. He is also the Runnin' Rebels' leading rebounder with 5.7 per game. Sophomore guard Oscar Bellfield is averaging 9.3 points and a team high 4.5 assists per game.
Saturday's game will be the 40th meeting in the series. UNLV leads the series 25-14 and has posted a record of 16-3 against the Cowboys in Las Vegas. The Pokes are looking for their first win over the Rebels on their home floor since the 2002-03 season.
With that win over Air Force last Tuesday, Wyoming guaranteed itself of a No. 8 seed in next week's Conoco MWC Basketball Championship in Las Vegas. The Cowboys will take on No. 9 seeded Air Force on Wed., March 10 in the first game of the championship. The game will begin at 3 p.m. (MT) and will be televised live by The Mtn.