Nov. 20, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Larry Shyatt will coach the University of Wyoming men's basketball team for the 100th time on Friday when the Cowboys host South Dakota at 8 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (3-1) own an impressive 17-0 record in the month of November in the Double A under the fourth-year head coach, but now face the Coyotes (0-2) and star interior player Trevor Gruis with their new head coach Joey James.
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 also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by ROOT Sports (Charter: 23; DirecTV: 683; Dish Network: 414). Contact your local cable or satellite provider for specific channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys own a 3-1 record so far in 2013-14, with all three wins coming in the Arena-Auditorium. Their lone loss on the season was a 63-58 setback at Colorado on Nov. 13. Most recently, Wyoming earned a 73-65 victory over Jackson State at home last Monday. Four Cowboys scored in double figures and UW connected on its last 11 free-throw attempts to earn the hard-fought win. Wyoming led 35-24 at halftime and stretched the advantage to as high as 16 points midway through the second half, before the Tigers fought back to 61-56 with just over six minutes left. That would be as close as JSU could come, though, as UW fought to the rim and earned trips to the free throw line. The Cowboys made their final 11 free-throw attempts to finish the game 31-of-44 (70 percent) at the charity stripe. The win was Wyoming's 100th non-conference victory in the building during the Mountain West era. The Cowboy offense has now shot over 50 percent from the field in the last two games, while the bench has scored in double figures in all four contests. Defensively, the Pokes are holding opponents to 38 percent from the field to rank third in the Mountain West and 31 percent from deep.
After 25 seasons at the helm for South Dakota, coach Dave Boots retired during the offseason and longtime assistant Joey James has filled the interim head coach position. James has the Coyotes 0-2 so far in 2013-14. South Dakota went 10-20 overall last season, including 5-11 in the Summit League, but returned four starters and seven letterwinners from that squad. The Coyotes opened the season with two road games, as USD fell at St. Bonaventure, 68-46, on Nov. 9 and at Canisius, 71-66, on Nov. 11 in its most recent action. The Coyotes owned a 64-62 lead over Canisius with two minutes to go, but a turnover on their ensuing offensive possession led to a Canisius three. USD trimmed the lead back to one, 67-66, with 51 seconds left, but Canisius made another bucket and free throws down the stretch to seal the win. The game featured 16 lead changes and nine ties, as South Dakota was outrebounded 43-40 but earned a 14-12 advantage in assists. Offensively, the Coyotes average 56 points on 35 percent from the field and 25 percent beyond the arc, while adding 34 rebounds and 11 assists per game. South Dakota on the defensive end allows opponents to shoot 39 percent and 32 percent, respectively, while allowing 69.5 points. The Coyotes were picked to finish seventh in the Summit League.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. continues to be solid for Wyoming, as he's scored in double figures in each game and nine straight dating back to last season. He averages 13.3 points for second on the team, while leading the team at 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He notched 15 points and seven rebounds against Jackson State. Junior guard Riley Grabau and Josh Adams also average in double-figure points at 14.5 and 12.3, respectively. Grabau is shooting 55 percent (10-of-18) beyond the arc to go with 2.7 assists, while Adams contributes a team-high 3.0 assists and is one of seven Cowboys shooting over 50 percent from the field. Grabau paced Wyoming with 16 points against JSU. Senior guard Nathan Sobey reached double figures for the first time this season with 11 points versus Jackson State, as he adds 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per game. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. recorded his second-straight double-figure rebound game with 10 against JSU and added a career-high three blocks.
Junior center Trevor Gruis was named to the preseason All-Summit League team and has paced the Coyotes so far this season. He averages team highs of 15.5 points and 7.0 rebounds, while shooting 58 percent from the field. He notched 18 points and nine rebounds against Canisius to become the 11th player in South Dakota history with 1,000 points and 600 rebounds. Junior guard Brandon Bos added 13 points and four rebounds versus Canisius, as he averages 13.5 and 3.0 on the season thanks to a team-high six threes. Sophomore guard Trey Norris runs the point for the Coyotes at 4.0 assists per game and adds 7.5 points, while sophomore guard Adam Thoseby contributes 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Senior guard Karim Rowson rounds out USD's probable starters at 3.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
About the Series
Wyoming and South Dakota will meet for the ninth time on the hardwood on Friday. The Pokes own a 6-2 advantage in the all-time series with wins in five of the last six meetings. Wyoming has won its last five meetings in the Arena-Auditorium with South Dakota.
The Cowboys face another tough road test with a trip to No. 8 Ohio State on Monday. Tip is set for 5 p.m. MT in Columbus, Ohio. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.