Nov. 11, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team faces a tough early-season test on Wednesday when the Cowboys travel to Colorado for their second game in the Global Sports Main Event. The Pokes (1-0) are seeking their seventh-consecutive victory over CU, including their seventh-straight in Boulder, but the Buffs (1-1) return four starters from last season's NCAA team and are receiving votes in both national polls. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in the Coors Events Center.
Fans can follow live stats and audio of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised on the Pac-12 Network. Check your cable or satellite provider for channel info.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming opened its 2013-14 season with a solid 78-60 win over UT Martin last Friday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes held a slim advantage the majority of the first half, until the Skyhawks clawed back in front at 32-30 with 4:30 to go. Wyoming responded with three-straight threes and two emphatic dunks to quickly pull in front, as the Cowboys ended the half on a 15-1 run to go into halftime up 12. UW wouldn't relinquish the lead in the second half and stretched the advantage to as many as 18 late. Wyoming's 78 points would have been its third highest total last season, while 45 first-half points would have been a season high in 2012-13. Four Cowboys scored in double figures against the Skyhawks, a feat accomplished just eight times in 2012-13. The offensive showing was good news for the Pokes, who return three starters and 10 letterwinners from last season. Defense has led Wyoming to back-to-back 20-win seasons and postseason berths, but a new offensive scheme will hopefully help the Cowboys score more points. Depth at the guard position should help that as well, as Wyoming welcomes two four-year transfers. The Cowboys were picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West preseason poll.
Head coach Tad Boyle and Colorado finished 21-12 overall last season, including 10-8 in the Pac-12 Conference, to earn a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Buffs return four starters and eight letterwinners from that squad and are receiving votes in both national polls after starting 2013-14 with a 1-1 mark. Colorado lost a 72-60 decision at No. 25 Baylor last Friday, before opening its home slate with a 91-65 win over UT Martin on Sunday. The Buffs led the Skyhawks by 10 at halftime, 45-35, but UTM kept the game within 10 points through the first 12 minutes of the second half. Colorado ended the contest on a 28-12 run, though, to put the game away. The Buffs earned a 44-10 advantage in the paint and 46-26 in rebounds, as 12 different CU players scored. Colorado shot 59 percent (29-of-49) from the floor and 82 percent (28-of-34) at the free throw line, while holding the Skyhawks to 34 percent (22-of-63) on field goals. The Buffs were picked to finish third in the Pac-12 preseason poll.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Riley Grabau paced Wyoming against UT Martin and was one of four Pokes to score in double figures. He posted a career-high 17 points on 4-of-6 beyond the arc and 5-of-6 at the free throw line, as he added three assists and a steal. Grabau averaged six points last season and was second on the team at 2.5 assists per game. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. posted his fourth career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, in addition to two assists and two blocks. Nance is UW's top returning scorer after averaging 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in 2012-13. Freshman guard Trey Washington III and redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. were impressive in their career debuts for the Cowboys, as each scored 14 points. Washington hit three treys and Hankerson was a perfect 6-of-6 at the free throw line. A total of nine Pokes notched points, and eight played at least 13 minutes.
Four Colorado starters average in double figures, led by sophomore forward Josh Scott at 15.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. He posted a team-high 15 points against UTM to go with eight rebounds. Returning All-Pac 12 honoree Spencer Dinwiddie averages 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. The junior guard scored 13 against UTM and is also tied for the team lead at 2.5 assists. Redshirt freshman forward Wesley Gordon adds 11.0 points and 8.0 rebounds, while sophomore forward Xavier Johnson rounds out CU's double-figure scorers at 10.0 points and 3.5 rebounds. Gordon posted 13 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks versus the Skyhawks and Johnson added 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
About the Series
Wyoming is 8-2 in its last 10 meetings with Colorado and currently owns a six-game winning streak, as one more victory would tie UW's longest winning streak in the series. The Pokes previously beat the Buffs seven-straight times from 1946-52. Wyoming has won its last six trips to Boulder dating back to 1991, including a 65-54 win in its last trip on Dec. 9, 2011. UW head coach Larry Shyatt is 3-0 all-time against CU, including knocking of No. 19/19 Colorado, 76-69, last season in Laramie.
The Pokes continue play in the Global Sports Main Event by hosting Arkansas State at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium.