March 6, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A lot will be on the line this Saturday when the Wyoming Cowboys host the New Mexico Lobos in the 2008-09 regular season basketball finale. The Cowboys are looking to strengthen their postseason resume and send four seniors out in style, while New Mexico is playing for a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title. The game will begin at 1:30 p.m. from the Arena-Auditorium and will be televised live by The Mtn.
The Cowboys enter Saturday's game with an overall record of 18-11 and a MWC mark of 7-8. New Mexico is currently 20-10 overall and 11-4 in the MWC. New Mexico enters the weekend in a three-way tie with BYU and Utah for first place in the MWC. The Cowboys are guaranteed to be the sixth seed in next week's conference championships.
Wyoming leads the all-time series with New Mexico 62-55. In games played in Laramie, the Cowboys are 37-19. The Cowboys have won 11 of the last 19 meetings and 10 of the last 11 meetings in Laramie.
For Wyoming, Saturday will mark a special day for four Cowboy seniors and their families. Brandon Ewing, Tyson Johnson, Sean Ogirri and Bienvenu Songondo will be honored prior to the beginning of the game.
Ewing, a Chicago, Ill. native, has been one of the best players in the history of Wyoming basketball. He will leave Wyoming ranked among the top-10 of UW's career leaders in 12 of 16 categories. Most notably, Ewing is the second leading scorer and assist man in school history, while also starting the most career games.
Johnson, a Long Island, N.Y. native who transferred to Wyoming from Blinn Community College, has made a tremendous impact during his two-year career as a Cowboy. This season, Johnson ranks among the MWC's best in seven statistical categories. He is also Wyoming's top-rebounder and fourth leading scorer.
Ogirri, who played his only season in a Cowboy uniform this year, transferred to Wyoming from Wichita State. A native of Denver, Colo., Ogirri has made a major mark on the Cowboy program in just one season. Ogirri currently ranks 12th in the nation in made three-pointers per game and 23rd in three-point percentage. With 98 made three-pointers this season, Ogirri is Wyoming's all-time single-season leader and needs only two more to break the MWC's record.
Songondo, who lettered for the Cowboys from 2006-08, was unable to play during his senior season due to a knee injury. However, with his tremendous spirit and dedication to Cowboy basketball, he has continued to help the Cowboys in many ways.
New Mexico, who is under second year head coach Steve Alford, has four players that are scoring in double-figures this season. Senior Tony Danridge is leading the way with 14.8 points per game and is followed by senior Daniel Faris (11.7 ppg), senior Chad Toppert (11.2 ppg) and junior Roman Martinez (10.8 ppg).
The Cowboys will open the 2009 Conoco Mountain West Conference Championships in the quarterfinal round next Thursday, March 12. The championships will be held in Las Vegas, Nev. at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center. The complete bracket and game times will be announced following the completion of all Saturday games.