LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Fresh off a statement victory, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team is right back to action Monday against Florida A&M at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (3-0) downed Colorado, 56-33, last Saturday, but are now in the midst of four games in eight days, while the Rattlers (0-4) open the 2014-15 campaign with nine-straight road games. The Cowboys are now receiving votes in both national polls for the first time since 2013.
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.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming once again crafted a defensive masterpiece in last Saturday's 56-33 victory over Colorado. The Cowboys looked to be in for another back-and-forth affair with the Buffs, who were receiving votes in both national polls, but UW quickly expanded a 26-24 halftime lead to double digits with an 8-0 run to start the second half. CU responded with a three, but the Cowboys added a trey of their own to push the advantage back to double digits and the rout was on from there. The Buffs managed just nine points in the second half, as CU's 33 points were the fewest for a UW opponent since 29 by Air Force on Feb. 20, 1982, the first game in the AA. Wyoming shot more than 50 percent from the field for a third-straight contest, hitting on 52 percent (22-of-42) overall and 41 percent (9-of-22) beyond the arc. The Pokes posted a perfect 22 assists on 22 made baskets and have more than 20 assists in three-straight contests for the first time since February 2001. CU's nine points in the second half came on two field goals and four free throws, as the Buffs shot 10 percent (2-of-20) from the field in the half and 28 percent (12-of-43) for the game. Offensively, Wyoming averages 65.0 points per game on 55 percent from the field and 39 percent beyond the arc. Defensively, the Pokes allow 49.7 points per game on 37 and 32 percent, respectively.
Byron Samuels is in his first season as head coach at Florida A&M. The Rattlers went 14-18 overall and 8-8 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last season, but seven players graduated and six other projected returnees left the program after APR sanctions banned Florida A&M from the MEAC and NCAA tournaments. FAMU starts the 2014-15 campaign with nine-straight road games and has gone 0-4 so far on the trip with all four losses coming by double digits. Most recently, Florida A&M lost a 64-49 contest at Grand Canyon last Friday. The Lopes scored 16 of the final 20 points of the half to carry a 34-22 lead into the break and added the first seven points of the second half for a 41-22 advantage. GCU shot 43 percent from the field in the second half to lead by as many as 26, while holding FAMU to 33 percent and no three pointers. The Rattlers were outrebounded 40-33, but earned a 30-28 advantage in points in the paint. On the season, Florida A&M averages 49.0 points per game on 36 percent from the field and 25 percent beyond the arc. Defensively, the Rattlers allow 75.0 points on 47 and 29 percent, respectively. FAMU averages 16.0 turnovers per game and 7.7 assists.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Josh Adams led Wyoming's charge against Colorado with 14 points, seven assists and three rebounds. Ten of his 14 points came after halftime, as he single-handedly outscored the Buffs. He averages 10.0 points and 4.7 assists on the season. Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. and senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. each added 10 points versus CU. Nance, the MW Preseason Player of the Year, notches a team-high 14.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per contest, while Hankerson adds 11.0 points and a team-high 5.0 assists. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. missed his first field goal of the season against CU and is now hitting just 93 percent (14-of-15) from the field to go with 9.7 points and 2.7 rebounds. Senior guard Riley Grabau adds 6.3 points and 2.7 assists and is one of the nation's top shooters beyond the arc.
Junior guard Jermaine Ruttley is Florida A&M's only player to average in double figures at 12.8 points per game. His 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game also pace the Rattlers, as he notched 16 points and eight rebounds against Grand Canyon. Senior forward Quentin Bastian contributes 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the field. Freshman guard Jorge Rosa scores 8.0 points per game and has a team-high five treys on the season, while freshman guard Craig Bowman and freshman forward Jordan Jackson round out FAMU's probable starters at 4.5 and 2.0 points per game, respectively. Eight different Rattlers have started a game this season, as Ruttley and Rosa are the only players to start all four.
About the Series
Monday will be the first meeting between Wyoming and Florida A&M.
The Pokes continue a hectic schedule of four games in eight days by hosting Stetson on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.