March 6, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
There is plenty left to play for when the University of Wyoming men's basketball team closes the regular season by hosting Border War rival Colorado State on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. With a victory and a little help, the Cowboys (17-13, 8-9 MW) could earn the fifth seed in next week's Mountain West Tournament, while the Rams (16-14, 7-10 MW), could climb as high as sixth with a win of their own. The game has been tabbed Rewind Day, as the Pokes will wear throwback jerseys to the early `80s to celebrate the history of the Double A.
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 ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming is tied for sixth in the Mountain West standings at 8-9 in the conference and 17-13 overall following a 65-54 loss at Utah State on Wednesday. It was the second-straight game the Cowboys held a halftime lead, but came up short in the final minutes. Wyoming was in front 29-26 at halftime and extended the advantage to eight points early in the second half, before a 10-0 run from the Aggies put them up two with 14 minutes remaining. The Pokes quickly retook the lead, but Utah State crafted another 10-2 run for a five-point advantage at 48-43 with just over five minutes to go. The Pokes hit a three to pull within two, but that would be as close as Wyoming could get, as the Aggies closed the game on a 15-6 run. For the season, Wyoming's 48 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 20th in the nation, while its 36 percent from deep is fifth and 64.6 points per game are 10th. UW's 72 percent at the free throw line is eighth. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 16th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 61.0 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 Larry Eustachy and Colorado State are eighth in the conference standings at 7-10 in MW play and 16-14 overall. The Rams have won two of their last three games, but are 2-8 away from Fort Collins this season. Most recently, CSU won a 78-66 home game over San Jose State on Wednesday. The Rams led by as much as 17 points at 57-40 with 14:05 left in the game, but after a 16-3 run over 3:15, the Spartans cut the lead to just four points at 60-56 with 10:26 left in the game. The Rams responded with a 15-2 run over 3:38 to push the lead to 75-58 with just 5:22 left in the game. On the season, Colorado State's 73.4 points per game are fourth in the MW, while its 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep are both 10th. Defensively, CSU allows 69.1 points for sixth, while allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent from the field for ninth and 37 percent beyond the arc for 11th. The Rams take care of the ball, as their 9.3 turnovers per game lead the conference and rank fifth in the NCAA. They have committed the eighth fewest turnovers in the nation this season. CSU ranks 18th and 24th in the nation in free throws made and attempted this season.
Each Team's Leaders
Sophomore guard Josh Adams notched his second-straight 20-point effort with 21 points at Utah State on Wednesday. His 12.2 points and 2.7 assists per game both lead Wyoming, as he has shot over 53 percent from the field in the last two games. Junior guard Riley Grabau also averages in double figures at 11.0 points per game and adds 2.2 assists. Grabau's 2.2 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 8.7 points per, but has scored in double figures in four of Wyoming's last five games to average 15.8 points per game during the stretch, including a career-high 26 points against Fresno State on Feb. 18. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.'s team-high 5.9 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. Wyoming's starters have all played over 30 minutes in the last two games.
Redshirt junior guard Daniel Bejarano and redshirt junior forward J.J. Avila dominate Colorado State's stat sheet. Bejarano's 16.8 points are fourth in the MW, while his 8.4 rebounds are eighth and 3.3 assists are seventh. Avila's 16.7 points are seventh in the league, while his 7.4 rebounds are 10th and 3.6 assists are fifth. The two also rank in the MW's top 10 in steals, assist-turnover ratio and minutes. Bejarano finished with 19 points and nine rebounds against San Jose State, while Avila added 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Redshirt junior guard Jon Octeus posted a game-high 21 points against the Spartans and averages 13.5 per game. Sophomore guard Joe De Ciman adds 8.4 points per contest and senior forward Gerson Santo rounds out CSU's probable starters at 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
About the Series
Saturday will be the 221st meeting between Wyoming and Colorado State, as the Cowboys own a 128-92 advantage in the all-time series with Rams, including a 74-35 mark in Laramie. CSU has won eight of the last nine meetings, though, including the last four. In their last meeting, the Rams earned an 82-67 victory in Fort Collins on Feb. 22.
The Cowboys start play in the 2014 Mountain West Tournament next week.