Nov. 19, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team hits the road for the first time during the 2012-13 campaign, when the Cowboys play at Northern Colorado on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion in Greeley, Colo. The Pokes are off to a 4-0 start to the season, including a dominant 3-0 showing in last week's Global Sports Hoops Showcase, while the Bears are 1-1 with a home win and road loss. UNC won the last meeting in Greeley, 67-53, on Nov. 16, 2010, while Wyoming is looking for its first win in a road opener since 2002-03.
Fans can also follow live stats, live audio and live video of Wyoming's games through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys have begun the 2012-13 campaign with a 4-0 mark, their best start since 5-0 during the 2008-09 season. Wyoming opened with a 62-42 win over Western State on Nov. 10, before earning three wins in last week's Global Sports Hoops Showcase in Laramie. UW downed North Carolina Central (73-60) last Wednesday, South Dakota (71-51) last Thursday and Southern (67-60) last Friday. Wyoming led at halftime in its first three games, before extending its advantage in the second half for the easy win. Southern was more a of challenge, though, as the Cowboys trailed midway through the second half, before using a late rally for the come-from-behind victory. Wyoming ranks second in the Mountain West in scoring defense by allowing 53.2 points per game and fourth in blocked shots at 4.0 per game. Offensively, Wyoming is second in threes per game (8.7) and third in three-point percentage (34.3). UW's plus 3.7 turnover margin is fourth in the conference.
Head coach B.J. Hill is in his third season at Northern Colorado and owns a 31-31 overall record. The Bears went 9-19 overall in 2011-12, including a 5-11 mark in the conference to finish eighth in the Big Sky, and return four starters and eight letterwinners from that squad. Northern Colorado is 1-1 so far this season, with a 127-81 home win over Southwest on Nov. 10 and a 64-53 road loss at Cal Poly last Thursday. UNC's 127 points were a school record, as they hit 55 percent (11-of-20) from deep. The Bears finished last season as the nation's best three-point shooting team after shooting 44 percent beyond the arc. Northern Colorado cooled off on the road, though, during its loss to the Mustangs. The Bears trailed most of the game, but clawed within four late in the second half only to see victory slip away again. UNC hit 3 of its 18 three-point attempts (16 percent) against Cal Poly.
Each Team's Leaders
Wyoming has received great leadership from its trio of seniors so far this season, as forward Leonard Washington, guard Luke Martinez and guard Derrious Gilmore all average in double figures. Washington posts 16.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, including double-doubles in two of the last three games, while Martinez adds 14.5 points thanks to nearly four treys per game. Gilmore contributes 10.8 points to go with a team-high six steals on the season. Two sophomores, Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau, round out Wyoming's probable starters. Nance, a forward, is averaging 9.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, while Grabau, a guard, has 18 assists on the season and no turnovers. Nance notched the first double-double of his career last Friday against Southern and Grabau posted a career-high six assists against South Dakota last Thursday.
Sophomore forward Tim Huskisson paces four Northern Colorado players in double figures at 12.5 points per game, thanks in part to 69 percent from the field. Redshirt junior center adds to UNC's inside game with 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds to go with three blocks. Redshirt sophomore guard Tevin Svihovec and junior guard Paul Garnica both add 10 points per game, but Svihovec has started UNC's two games and Garnica comes off the bench. Svihovec has a team-high eight assists on the season. Junior forward Derrick Barden and redshirt junior guard Tate Unruh round out the probable Bear starters at 8.5 and 7.0 points per game, respectively. Barden is averaging a team-high 7.0 rebounds.
About the Series
The Pokes have a 51-19 advantage in the all-time series with Northern Colorado, and own a 9-1 mark in the last 10 meetings between the two programs. Wyoming is 19-12 in Greeley, though, including a 67-53 loss on Nov. 16, 2010 for its last loss to the Bears.
Wyoming returns home to host CSU Bakersfield on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.