LARAMIE, Wyo. -
In what has been an entertaining series the past several seasons, Saturday's showdown between the University of Wyoming men's basketball team and Colorado should be no different. The Cowboys (2-0) host the Buffs (2-0) in the Arena-Auditorium at 4 p.m. MT in an early-season clash with postseason implications on the line. The contest is officially a Gold Out and fans are encouraged to help #SelloutCU by visiting JointhePosse.com.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com. A special Bandit Bundle ticket is being offered for fans also attending Wyoming's football game Saturday night. The Cowboys host Boise State at 8:15 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium. Fans can purchase a Bandit Bundle ticket for the doubleheader for $45 prior to Saturday.
Fans can follow live stats, audio and ESPN3 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.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming enter the weekend with a 2-0 mark after a 78-70 victory over Northern Colorado last Sunday and a 61-46 downing of Western State last Tuesday. The Mountaineers took an early lead against the Cowboys and trailed by just six at halftime before pulling within eight with 12 minutes left in the contest. Big dunks on two of UW's next three possessions sparked a 13-4 run over the next six minutes that put the Pokes up by double figures. Wyoming shot more than 50 percent from the field for a second-straight game, hitting 52 percent (24-of-46) overall and 32 percent (6-of-19) from deep, while holding WSU to 34 percent (17-of-50) and 33 percent (10-of-30), respectively. The Cowboys notched 21 assists for a second-straight game as well, the first time since 2007-08 with 20 or more assists in back-to-back games. Offensively, Wyoming averages 69.5 points per game on 57 percent from the field and 38 percent beyond the arc. Defensively, the Pokes allow 58.0 points per game on 42 and 34 percent, respectively. UW's 1.6 assist to turnover ratio leads the Mountain West. Wyoming was picked to finish sixth in the league's preseason poll after welcoming back four starters.
Head coach Tad Boyle and Colorado welcome all five starters back from last year's NCAA squad and are 2-0 as well in 2014-15. The Buffs are receiving votes in the Associated Press and coaches poll after opening with home wins over Drexel, 65-48, last Friday and Auburn, 90-59, last Monday. Colorado led the Tigers by just four at halftime, but a 24-0 run midway through the second half turned the game into a convincing victory. The Buffs limited the Tigers to 18 (6-of-33) percent shooting from the field in the second half and 29 percent (20-of-69) for the game, while hitting 59 percent (31-of-53) themselves. CU won the rebound battle with ease, 46-31, and collaborated for 15 assists, six blocks and six steals. Colorado is shooting 51 percent from the field on the season and 33 percent from three to average 77.5 points. Defensively, the Buffs allow just 53.5 points on 29 and 21 percent, respectively.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. were the stars of the show against Western State. Nance, the MW preseason Player of the Year, posted 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while Cooke contributed 13 points and a block. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. added 11 points, six assists and four rebounds. Nance is averaging 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds to 11.5 points for Cooke and Hankerson. Cooke has yet to miss a field goal this season, going a perfect 11-of-11 in the first two contests, while Hankerson is averaging a team-high 5.5 assists per game. Junior guard Josh Adams is second on the team at 3.5 assists and adds 8.0 points, while senior guard Riley Grabau rounds out UW's probable starters at 6.5 points and 2.5 assists. Grabau is a perfect 6-of-6 at the free throw line this season.
Junior forward Josh Scott leads Colorado with an impressive 19.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He was recently named to the Wooden Award watch list. Sophomore forward Wesley Gordon and junior forward Xavier Johnson contributed 12.5 points apiece. Gordon adds 8.0 rebounds per game and is shooting more than 76 percent from the field this season. Junior guard Xavier Talton averages a team-high 3.0 assists per game and adds 7.0 points, while senior guard Askia Booker rounds out CU's probable starters at 8.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Gordon posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds against Auburn, while Scott and Johnson added 17 points apiece. Colorado was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 conference's preseason poll.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Colorado, 42-36, including a 26-11 mark at home, as the Buffs have not won in Laramie since 1996. Larry Shyatt teams are 3-1 against Colorado, including 2-1 on the road. The Cowboys are 7-3 in the last 10 meetings with CU and own victories in six of the last seven. Last season, Colorado earned a 63-58 win in Boulder.
The Cowboys host Florida A&M on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.