Nov. 13, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Under the lights of the Arena-Auditorium, the Cowboy basketball team will open the 2008-09 season on Friday night by hosting Cal State Bakersfield at 7 p.m. The game will begin the second season of the Heath Schroyer era at the University of Wyoming.
Another exciting aspect of Friday's season opener will be the addition of a banner to the tradition-rich rafters of the Arena-Auditorium. A banner honoring former Cowboy basketball great Kenny Sailors will be hung prior to the game.
Schroyer's opening night lineup will feature two returning starters and a strong group of talented underclassmen. Leading the way will be senior Brandon Ewing, the Mountain West Conference's leading scorer in each of the past two seasons. Ewing has also earned all-conference honors all three years of his career and was a preseason all-conference selection this year.
Teaming with Ewing in the backcourt will a very talented redshirt senior by the name of Sean Ogirri. Ogirri sat out last season after transferring to UW from Wichita State. As a Shocker, Ogirri averaged 9.7 points and 1.9 assists in 97 career games. He also helped guide the Shockers to the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA tournament by averaging 17.5 points per game in the tournament.
A third senior, Tyson Johnson, returns for his final year with the Cowboys with a great deal of momentum. During the stretch run of last season, Johnson scored in double figures in 10 of UW's last 12 games.
The Cowboys will, however, have to play without junior Ryan Dermody. Dermody, who started 29 games as a sophomore, injured his left elbow in practice this week and will not be able to play this Friday. His will undergo tests next week to determine the extent of his injury.
Cal State Bakersfield will be traveling to UW for the second time in as many years. In the first ever meeting between these two schools, Wyoming came away with a 78-53 win over the Roadrunners on Feb. 6, 2008 in Laramie. In that game, the Cowboys were paced by then freshman Mikhail Linskens who scored a career high 23 points.
Friday's game will also be the first of the season for Cal State Bakersfield. CSUB is in the midst of a five-year transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. They began the process in 2005-06 and will compete as a full Division I member for the first time in 2010-11. They are currently considered a Division I independent.
In a special promotion, a ticket for this season opener will gain the holder free admission to Wyoming's wrestling dual with Stanford, prior to the basketball game, at 5 p.m. On the other hand, a ticket to the wrestling dual will earn fans $5 off an upper level basketball ticket.
Following this season opener, the Cowboys will return to the floor on Wed., Nov. 19 for a match-up with Prairie View A&M. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. in the Arena Auditorium.