Nov. 15, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team continues play in the Global Sports Main Event by hosting Arkansas State at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (1-1) are 15-0 at home in the month of November under head coach Larry Shyatt, but the Red Wolves (2-0) bring an athletic, senior-laden squad to Laramie.
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 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.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming is 1-1 on the young 2013-14 season, after claiming a season-opening 78-60 win over UT Martin on Nov. 8, but dropping a 63-58 contest at Colorado on Wednesday. After four ties and three lead changes in the second half, the Cowboys were within one of the Buffs with 1:47 left. Wyoming came up empty on its next offensive possession, though, and CU was able to make it a two possession game with 30 seconds left and make free throws down the stretch to ice the game. The loss broke UW's six-game winning streak over Colorado and was the Cowboys' first loss in Boulder since 1991. Wyoming outshot CU in all three categories, as the Pokes hit 43 percent (20-of-46) from the field, 33 percent (7-of-21) beyond the arc and 73 percent (11-of-15) at the free throw line. CU outrebounded Wyoming 35-24 and committed just 19 fouls to 29 for the Pokes. Wyoming's 29 fouls were the second-most it has ever committed under Shyatt. The Cowboys continued to get balanced production, as eight different Pokes have scored in the first two games. The bench has produced 33 and 16 points, respectively, in UW's two games. Shyatt has started to tighten up the defense as well, as Wyoming held Colorado to three treys. The Cowboys had 12 games last season holding an opponent to three or less. Wyoming, who was picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West, returned three starters and 10 letterwinners.
Head coach John Brady is in his sixth season at the helm for Arkansas State, after guiding the Red Wolves to a 19-12 overall record and 12-8 mark in the Sun Belt Conference in 2012-13. ASU won its conference's regular-season title, but lost in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament to end its season. The Red Wolves returned just two starters and eight letterwinners from that squad, but are 2-0 so far in 2013-14. ASU opened with a 65-61 win at Jackson State on Monday and added a 72-62 home win against UT Martin on Wednesday. The Red Wolves won their fifth home opener in the last six seasons thanks to a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. UT Martin cut the lead to one early in the second half, but Arkansas State responded with a 9-0 run and stretched the advantage to as many as 16 points late in the half. ASU was outrebounded by UT Martin, 47-36, but forced the Skyhawks into 15 turnovers while committing 13 of its own. The Red Wolves are shooting 41 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep, while holding opponents to 38 percent and 13 percent, respectively. ASU is averaging 34.0 rebounds and 12.0 assists, but are allowing 46.5 rebounds per game.
Each Team's Leaders
Sophomore guard Josh Adams led the Wyoming attack versus Colorado with 15 points, as he is averaging 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists on the season. Junior guard Riley Grabau is UW's top scorer at 13.0 per game to go with 4.0 assists. He has knocked home a team-high five threes in two games. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds against the Buffs, he averages a double-double with 10.0 points and 10.0 rebounds on the season. He also has four blocks in two games. Redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. comes off the bench to average 10.5 points per game and is a perfect 8-of-8 at the free throw line. Adams, Grabau and Nance are projected to start alongside senior guard Nathan Sobey and junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. Sobey has done a little of everything for UW so far this season at 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 block per game. Cooke adds 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke paces three Arkansas State players in double figures at 15.0 points per game. He adds 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game, while shooting a team-high 66 percent from the field, as he notched 16 points and four blocks against UT Martin. Senior guard Melvin Johnson III posted 15 points versus UT Martin to average 14.0 points and 4.0 rebounds on the season. Sophomore guard Cameron Golden comes off the bench to contribute 14.5 points per game and a team-high four steals. Slyke and Johnson are projected to start alongside senior guard Brandon Reed, senior guard Ed Townsel and senior forward Kendrick Washington. Reed paces the Red Wolves at 3.5 assists per game to go with 5.5 points, while Washington nabbed 11 rebounds versus UT Martin and averages a team-high 8.5 on the season. Townsel contributes 2.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
About the Series
Saturday will be the first meeting between Wyoming and Arkansas State.
The Pokes conclude play in the Global Sports Main Event by hosting Jackson State at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in the Arena-Auditorium.