Oct. 29, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team continues preparations for the 2013-14 season by hosting UC-Colorado Springs for an exhibition game on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys return three starters from a 20-win team last season and have won their last 23 consecutive exhibition games, while the Mountain Lions look to build off five returning starters from 2012-13.
Fans are invited to trick or treat with Cowboy basketball before the game. All kids 13 and under wearing a costume will receive a $5 ticket to the game and can trick or treat on the Arena-Auditorium concourse when the doors open at 6 p.m.
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 the website. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
The 2012-13 season was head coach Larry Shyatt's second back at Wyoming and was another successful campaign. Shyatt and the Cowboys posted a 20-14 overall record in 2012-13 en route to another postseason berth in the College Basketball Invitational. The Pokes started the season red hot with a 13-0 mark, the best start in program history, to climb into the nation's top-25 rankings for the first time since 1991. Now a balanced 2013-14 Cowboy squad will look to build on back-to-back 20-win seasons and postseason bids. Wyoming's team this season features two seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen, as three starters and 10 letterwinners return. The Cowboys were picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West preseason poll.
Head coach Jeff Culver went 5-21 overall in 2012-13 in his first season with UC-Colorado Springs, including a 5-17 mark in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for 13th place. UCCS was picked to finish ninth in the 2013-14 RMAC preseason poll, just outside of the field for the conference tournament. The Mountain Lions return all five starters, though, and seven total letterwinners after leading the RMAC in offensive rebounds and total rebounds per RMAC game in 2012-13. UCCS has four seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and just two freshmen on its 2013-14 roster.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. is UW's top returner after averaging 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds last season, while fellow junior Riley Grabau could take over the point guard position after 2.5 assists. Guard Josh Adams started the last half of 2012-13 at 6.6 points per game and now looks to be a contributor right from the start this season. UW's strength in 2013-14 could be depth, as several other letterwinners that saw extended minutes last season return. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. and senior guard Nathan Sobey fall into that category. Five newcomers will also add immediate depth for Wyoming this season. Redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. sat out last season after transferring from Alabama and could push for a starting spot, as will redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry, who has one year of eligibility after graduating from North Florida. Freshman guard Trey Washington III is in the mold of former Cowboy JayDee Luster, while freshman forward Keonta Vernon adds physicality inside.
Sophomore guard Derrick White was the RMAC Freshman of the Year in 2012-13 for the Mountain Lions and subsequently earned a spot on the 2013-14 All-Preseason team. White was a member of the Division II Bulletin All-Freshman Team after he set the UCCS single-season record for made free throws. He led RMAC freshmen in scoring and was fourth overall with 16.9 points per game. White scored 20 or more points in eight games and scored at least 15 points in the final eight games of the season. He also paced the team at 2.1 assists per game. UCCS' rebounding strength was led by 5.9 per game from sophomore forward Alex Welsh, in addition to 12 points per game. White, Welsh, junior guard Darius Pardner and senior forward Jordan Carter return after each of them shot better than 40 percent from the field in 2012-13. Pardner rounded out UCCS' double-figure scorers at 10.3 per game.
About the Series
Thursday will be the fifth meeting between the Cowboys and Mountain Lions since 2004. Wyoming has won all four previous meetings, including topping 100 points on two occasions. The closest contest was a 101-82 UW exhibition victory on Nov. 4, 2006 in Laramie.
Wyoming opens the 2013-14 season against UT Martin on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.