LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team begins the 2015-16 season in earnest on Friday when the Pokes open the regular season by hosting Bristol University (Calif.) at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys wrapped up exhibition play with a 77-69 overtime loss to Fort Lewis last Saturday at home, but did not play several starters in the second half. Now Wyoming will look to finalize its rotation before facing the Bears, who are coached by former Cowboy standout Jeron Roberts.
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 GoWYO.com. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming concluded the preseason with a 77-69 overtime loss to Fort Lewis last Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys raised their 2015 Mountain West championship banner prior to the game, but it was the Skyhawks flying high after that. Fort Lewis jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first six minutes. Wyoming would battle back to take a 29-28 advantage into halftime, but the Skyhawks once again went back up by nine with less than five minutes remaining in the game. That's when UW hit a three to spark a 13-4 run down the stretch to send the contest to overtime. In the extra period it was all Skyhawks, though, as Fort Lewis outscored the Cowboys, 12-4, for the win. Wyoming went 0-of-6 from the field in overtime and shot just 33 percent (17-of-52) for the game. The Pokes hit 21 percent (6-of-28) beyond the arc compared to 40 percent (24-of-60) and 32 percent (12-of-37), respectively, for Fort Lewis. Wyoming was outrebounded 47-33 and trailed 17-10 in assists, but outscored Fort Lewis 20-8 in the paint and had a 9-5 advantage in steals. Several Wyoming starters did not play the majority of the second half, though, as the loss snapped a 24-game exhibition winning streak for Wyoming. The Pokes were picked to finish eighth in the MW preseason media poll.
Bristol is a member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, which is a part of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, and is led by Roberts, who lettered for the Pokes from 1995-98. He still has his name in several places in the Wyoming record book and was also a member of Shyatt's squad that advanced to the NIT tournament in 1998. Roberts is now in his fourth season at the helm for the Bears and welcomes back two starters and seven letterwinners from last year's squad that won a PCAC championship at 7-1 in league play and 11-14 overall. Bristol has started the 2015-16 season with an 0-3 record, as all three losses have come on the road by double digits. The Bears play their first 16 games this season on the road and don't have a home contest until Jan. 17. Most recently, Bristol dropped a 108-63 game at CSU Bakersfield last Saturday. The Bears shot 40 percent (24-of-60) from the field and 33 percent (7-of-21) from deep, but allowed the Roadrunners to make 59 percent (38-of-64) and 44 percent (8-of-18), respectively. Bristol was outrebounded 45-26 and committed 22 turnovers.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams posted 18 points, four rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes in Wyoming's exhibition loss to Fort Lewis. He is the top returning Cowboy and was named to the preseason All-MW team after averaging 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season. Redshirt sophomore guard Trey Washington III added 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals versus the Skyhawks. Sophomore forward Hayden Dalton led Wyoming on the boards with five rebounds to go with eight points and two assists. Overall, 10 different Cowboys scored and six had at least one assist. Adams, junior guard Jason McManamen, sophomore guard Jeremy Lieberman and sophomore forwards Alan Herndon and Jonathan Barnes started for Wyoming last Saturday, but overall nine Cowboys played at least 20 minutes.
Bristol is paced by junior guard Jaylen Rose at 12.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, as he shoots 45 percent from the field and a team-high 46 percent beyond the arc. Rose had a team-high 19 points, including four triples, at CSU Bakersfield last Saturday. Senior forward Michael Johnson also scores in double figures for the Bears at 12.0 points per game to go with 3.7 rebounds. Johnson had 14 points versus the Roadrunners and a team-high six rebounds. Senior guard Tade Keshishyan leads Bristol at 4.7 rebounds per game and adds 9.7 points and 2.7 assists. He notched five rebounds and three assists at CSU Bakersfield. Junior guard Steven Shares and sophomore forward Brian Mahood round out BU's probable starters at 5.0 and 3.0 points per game, respectively.
About the Series
Friday will be the first meeting between Wyoming and Bristol.
The Pokes start the road portion of the 2015-16 season with the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge at Indiana State on Monday at 5 p.m. MT.