March 10, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Postseason play is what college basketball teams have been preparing for all season and the Wyoming Cowboys are set to begin that quest. The Pokes will open the 2009 Conoco Mountain West Conference Championships against a familiar foe, the New Mexico Lobos, in the tournament's quarterfinals on Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Tip-off is set for 9:30 p.m. (MT)/8:30 p.m. (PT) and the game will be televised live by The Mtn. HD and CBS College Sports HD.
The Cowboys and Lobos met in Laramie last Saturday in the final regular-season game of 2008-09. The Lobos came away with a one-point win, 74-73. With that win, the Lobos won a share of the MWC regular-season title and secured a #3 seed in the MWC tournament. The Cowboys enter the MWC tournament as the #6 seed. The Cowboys are 18-12 overall and were 7-9 in the MWC, while New Mexico is 21-10 overall and was 12-4 in league play.
Over the history of the MWC Tournament, Wyoming has posted a 6-9 record. The Cowboys have advanced to the semifinals five times, posting a 5-3 record in the quarterfinals.
The Cowboys lead the all-time series with New Mexico 62-56. The two teams have never played one another in the MWC Tournament, but did play four times in the WAC Tournament. Each team won two of those meetings. The Cowboys won a pair of close games, 64-62 in the 1987 WAC Championship game and 56-54 in the 1986 semifinals. Sean Dent hit a pair of free throws late in the game to win the 1987 championship game and Turk Boyd nailed an 18-footer with one second remaining to win the 1986 semifinal game.
With the MWC announcing its annual awards and all-conference team on Monday, the Cowboy roster features four of the top players in the MWC. Senior Brandon Ewing was named First Team All-MWC, becoming the first player in league history to earn all-conference honors all four years of his career. Redshirt freshman Afam Muojeke was selected as the MWC Freshman of the Year after leading the league's freshmen class in both scoring and rebounding. He is also only four points away from breaking the MWC's all-time freshman scoring record, which is currently held by Ewing.
Senior Tyson Johnson and redshirt senior Sean Ogirri were each Honorable Mention All-MWC selections. Johnson is the league's third leading rebounder and 13th leading scorer. Ogirri is tied for 11th in the nation in made three-pointers per game and is 25th in three-point percentage.
New Mexico, who is coached by Steve Alford, has four players that are scoring in double-figures this season. Those players include: senior Tony Danridge (15.2 ppg), senior Daniel Faris (11.5 ppg), senior Chad Toppert (10.9 ppg) and junior Roman Martinez (10.9 ppg).