March 16, 2012
After claiming its first postseason win since 2003, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team looks to continue that momentum when the Cowboys visit Washington State for the quarterfinals of the CBI presented by Zebra Pen on Monday. The Pokes (21-11) downed feisty North Dakota State, 78-75, at home in the first round last Wednesday, while the Cougars (16-16) earned a dominant 89-75 road win at San Francisco last Tuesday. Monday's tip is set for 8 p.m. MT in Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash.
Fans can follow live stats, live audio and live video of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on WyomingAthletics.com. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network, but will not be televised.
A Look at the Matchup
The Pokes advanced to the quarterfinals with a tight 78-75 win over North Dakota State last Wednesday in the AA. Wyoming led by as many as 10 points halfway through the second half, but the Bison hung tough to claw back into the game in the final five minutes. NDSU cut the game to a one possession game in the last minute and banked in a three with three seconds left to draw within one, but Cowboy free throws and a missed NDSU three-point attempt sealed the win. Wyoming scored its second-most points of the season, but North Dakota State scored a season-high 75 points for a UW opponent. The Bison were just the second Cowboy foe to score above their season average against the Pokes. Defensive has been solid for Wyoming this season, though, as the Cowboys were sixth in scoring defense (56.1 ppg) in the latest NCAA rankings and 36th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.4). Both marks rank in the top two of the Mountain West. Offensively, UW is 34th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (74.1), 34th in turnover margin (+2.6) and 40th in turnovers per game (11.8). UW's bench has averaged 16.6 points over the last five games.
Head coach Ken Bone and Washington State earned an 89-75 win at San Francisco in the CBI first round to sit at 16-16 on the season. WSU led by just one at halftime, but quickly opened the advantage to 10 points in the second half and hit free throws down the stretch for the win. Four Cougars scored in double figures, as WSU shot 89.3 percent (25-of-28) for its second-best performance of the season. Washington State finished the Pac-12 regular season at 7-11 for eighth in the league standings, before dropping a 69-64 contest to ninth-seeded Oregon State in the conference tournament first round. The Cougars own one of the better offenses in the Pac-12, as they rank third in the conference and 41st in the nation at 46.7 percent from the field. WSU is second in the Pac 12 in free throw percentage at 71.0, fifth in three-point makes per game at 6.2 and fourth in assists at 14.0. The Cougars average 68.8 points per game for seventh in the league. Defensively, Washington State allows 66.6 points for eighth in the conference. They also allow 31.3 rebounds for third in the Pac-12.
Each Team's Leaders
Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington continues to play well for the Pokes, with double-doubles in four of the last five contests. The Second Team All-MW honoree ranks in the top 10 of five conference statistical categories to average a team-high 12.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Senior guard Francisco Cruz and redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez are Wyoming's outside threat at 12.3 and 12.1 points, respectively. Cruz ranks third in the MW at 46.2 percent from the floor, while Martinez leads the league and ranks 54th in the nation at 2.6 threes per game. Cruz averages 2.3 assists and Martinez adds 4.0 rebounds. Senior guard JayDee Luster leads the Pokes on both ends of the floor. He was named the MW Defensive Player of the Year and ranks 29th in the nation in assist-turnover ratio at 2.4. Senior center Adam Waddell also excels on the defensive end, drawing 18 charges during MW play, to go with 9.5 points and 3.4 rebounds. Washington posted 22 points and 11 rebounds against NDSU, while Cruz added 14 points and Waddell had 13.
Junior forward Brock Motum is Washington State's offense, as the Pac-12's Most Improved Player and a First-Team selection. He leads the league and ranks 37th in the NCAA at 18.3 points, while also earning 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He also ranks fifth in the conference and 28th nationally in field goal percentage at 55.3. Motum is complimented by junior guard Reggie Moore, who leads the Pac-12 and is 32nd in the nation at 5.5 assists. His 2.1 assist-turnover ratio is fourth in the league, as he scores 9.4 points. Freshman guard DaVonte Lacy contributes 8.6 points, while senior guard Marcus Capers adds 6.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. Senior forward Abe Lodwick rounds out WSU's probable starters at 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Motum scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds against USF.
About the Series
The Cowboys have a 4-1 advantage over the Cougars in the all-time series, but the first three meetings occurred in the 1940s. More recently, Wyoming earned a 49-47 victory over Washington State on Dec. 22, 2004, in Laramie and WSU claimed a 63-47 win in Pullman on Nov. 30, 2005 in the two programs last meeting. Justin Williams led Wyoming with 10 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in that game.
A Wyoming win on Monday would put the Cowboys into the CBI semifinals. The teams will be re-bracketed for semifinal round action on Wednesday.