LARAMIE, Wyo. -
For the second time in seven days the University of Wyoming men's basketball team has a Border War with its neighbors to the north when the Cowboys host Montana State on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Bobcats (3-2) downed the Pokes (3-2), 83-82, last Sunday in Billings, Mont., in a game that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes. The Cowboys rebounded, though, with a 68-64 win over CSU Bakersfield last Wednesday at home.
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 be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming improved to 3-2 on the season with a 68-64 home win over CSU Bakersfield last Wednesday. The Pokes led by 13 with eight minutes left in the game, but the Roadrunners battled back with a quick 12-0 run to pull within one with 5:27 left. Wyoming maintained the advantage until CSUB hit a three with 39 seconds left to tie the game at 64-64. The Pokes claimed a monster jam with 21 seconds to go to retake the lead, before drawing a charge on the following CSUB possession and sinking free throws with five seconds remaining for the final margin. Overall, the Cowboys shot 46 percent (19-of-41) from the field, 41 percent (9-of-22) from three and a near-perfect 21-of-22 (96 percent) as a team. The Pokes entered the game in the top 30 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio, but had 15 dimes and a season-high 17 turnovers. The Roadrunners led 30-22 on the glass, including 11-3 on the offensive boards. On the season, Wyoming averages 72.0 points on 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep, while allowing 71.0 points on 43 and 34 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 9.5 threes per game, which ranks third in the MW and 43rd in the NCAA. Wyoming's 9.8 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and 23rd in the nation, while its plus 1.3 assist-turnover ratio is second in the conference and 69th nationally.
Head coach Brian Fish went 7-23 last season in his first campaign with Montana State, but has the Bobcats off to a 3-2 start to 2015-16. MSU opened with a 1-2 record at Hawai'i's tournament, before recording an 81-69 home win over San Jose State on Nov. 20 and an 83-82 neutral-site victory over Wyoming last Sunday. MSU led the Pokes by nine in the second half, but Wyoming battled back and had a chance to tie with 11 seconds left. The Bobcats forced a turnover, though, and hit two free throws with four seconds left to ice the game. Montana State shot 49 percent (29-of-59) from the field and 48 percent (12-of-25) beyond the arc to 53 percent (24-of-45) from the field and 48 percent from deep (12-of-25) for Wyoming. The Bobcats claimed a 33-27 advantage on the boards. Overall, Montana State averages 78.4 points per game on 45 percent from the field and 40 percent beyond the arc, while allowing 81.2 points per game on 50 and 36 percent, respectively. MSU owns a plus 4.8 rebounding margin, but a minus 4.2 turnover margin on the season.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams once again paced the Pokes with 23 points versus CSU Bakersfield last Wednesday for his third-straight game with 20 or more. His 24.5 points per game lead the MW and rank ninth in the NCAA, as he adds 4.8 rebounds and a team-high 4.5 assists per game. His 3.3 triples per game are third in the conference, while his 2.0 steals are fifth. Junior guard Jason McManamen and sophomore forward Alan Herndon both added career highs of 16 points against the Roadrunners. McManamen hasn't missed a three in the last two games, as his 50 percent from deep is third in the MW. He averages 10.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Herndon also rejected three CSUB shots and averages 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Fellow sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes is the other half of UW's frontcourt at 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Jeremy Lieberman and redshirt sophomore guard Trey Washington III have each started two of Wyoming's four games this season. Lieberman earned the last start versus CSUB and averages 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds to 5.0 points and 2.0 assists for Washington.
Montana State is paced by senior guard Marcus Colbert at 18.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The preseason All-BSC selection notched 29 points, six assists and three rebounds versus the Cowboys last Sunday. Freshman guard Tyler Hall adds 14.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists, as he had 25 points, including five threes, against the Pokes. Senior forward Danny Robison rounds out MSU's double-figure scorers at 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds and posted 10 points and five rebounds against Wyoming. Robison is shooting team highs of 58 percent from the field and 58 percent from deep this season. Colbert, Hall, Robison and sophomore guard Zach Green have started all five games for the Bobcats this season. Green contributes 7.8 points and 5.2 boards per game and have 10 rebounds versus UW. Sophomore forward Tyson Kanseyo started in place of junior center Shy Blake the last two games. Kanseyo averages 15 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest.
About the Series
The Bobcats prevailed last Sunday, but the Cowboys still own a 43-12 advantage in the all-time series, including 7-2 in Laramie. MSU's last trip to Laramie was a 70-61 loss on Dec. 14, 2014. That back-and-forth contest was tied, 53-53, with six minutes left, but the Cowboys held the Bobcats to just one field goal the rest of the game and crafted a 17-8 run thanks in part to a game-high 21 points from Larry Nance Jr. Three other Pokes also scored in double figures.
Wyoming is at Denver on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. MT tip in Magness Arena.