Cowboy Basketball Starts 2011-12 with Western State

Nov. 10, 2011

Laramie, Wyo. -

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The Wyoming Cowboys will start the 2011-12 regular season this weekend by hosting Western State College for an 8 p.m. game on Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. The contest will be the first game of the season for both squads, as the Pokes look to continue their recent success in season and home openers.

Tickets to all UW basketball games can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at WyomingAthletics.com.

Fans can also follow live stats and live audio of the game, as well as live video of the postgame press conference, through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio through the Cowboy Sports Network.

A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming claimed an 85-78 exhibition win over CSU-Pueblo last Saturday with a new coach and several new faces on the team. The game was head coach Larry Shyatt's first in the Arena-Auditorium since the 1997-98 season, while six Pokes made their first appearance in a UW uniform. The Cowboys shot the ball well at 51 percent (26-of-51) from the field and 37 percent (11-of-29) behind the arc, but Shyatt said in his postgame press conference that progress needs to be made on the defensive end of the floor. UW has won nine of its last 12 season-opening games and 17 of its last 21 home openers.

Western State returns two starters and six letterwinners from a squad that went 8-19 overall in head coach Mike Moskowitz's fourth year. The Mountaineers posted a 7-15 record in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play to finish tied for 10th in the league standings. WSC opened last season 0-3, and faces a tough schedule this year with two of its first three opponents hailing from the Mountain West. The Mountaineers also play at Air Force on Nov. 18.

Each Team's Leaders
The Cowboys got a solid team effort in their exhibition win last Saturday. Senior guard Francisco Cruz notched a game-high 29 points, as three other Cowboys scored in double figures. Junior forward Leonard Washington contributed 17 points, while junior guard Luke Martinez added 13 and senior center Adam Waddell had 12. Washington and Waddell both had a team-high eight rebounds. Cruz and Martinez played 36 and 35 minutes, respectively, while a total of eight Cowboys earned more than 13 minutes of playing time.

The Mountaineers will lean heavily on returning starters Weylan Towns and Alex Hart. Towns, a 6'1" guard, is the top returning scorer after averaging 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 2010-11, while Hart, a 6'5" guard, contributed 9.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Both will be seniors this season and are slated to start Saturday. Sophomore guard Jordan Adams also returns after adding 3.0 points off the bench last season. WSC's top newcomers are Mike Vandahl, Charles Joseph and Travis Shepherd.

About the Series
Wyoming owns a 25-2 advantage in the all-time series with Western State, with a 17-2 mark in Laramie. The Cowboys have won the last five meetings, including an 80-37 victory last season that saw Djibril Thiam lead four Pokes in double figures with 17 points. UW also picked up wins during the 2008-09 and 2006-07 season, but the previous meeting was during the 1994-95 campaign.

Up Next
The Cowboys continue the 2011-12 season by hosting Northern Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. Wyoming travels for its first road game to Wisconsin to face Green Bay on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.