Nov. 29, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
Off to its best start since 1987-88, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team puts its perfect 7-0 record on the line against No. 19 Colorado on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes are coming off a dominant 68-40 road win at UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, while the Buffs earned an 85-80 home win in double overtime over Texas Southern on Tuesday. Fans are encouraged to wear gold to "gold out" the Double A for UW's first ranked, non-conference opponent in the building since 1994-95.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at GoWYO.com. Fans can follow live stats and live video of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The live video is subject to blackout in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Nebraska, South Dakota, Nevada and Idaho. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by ROOT Sports.
A Look at the Matchup
The Pokes have raced out to a 7-0 record to the 2012-13 season, their best start since beginning the 1987-88 campaign with an 11-0 mark. Five of those victories have come by double figures, including three by 20 points. In its latest action, Wyoming claimed a 68-40 road win at UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday. The Cowboys led by 13 at halftime, before stretching the advantage to as much as 28 in the second half. Wyoming held UCSB to just 28 percent from the field and 40 points, both season lows for a UW opponent. The Cowboys lead the Mountain West in scoring defense by allowing 51.7 points per game, rank third in blocked shots at 4.1 and fourth in field goal percentage defense at 36.8. Offensively, Wyoming is second in threes per game (7.6) and third in three-point percentage defense (35.4). Offensively, the Cowboys are second in three-point makes at 7.6 per game and fourth in three-point percentage (34.4). UW has shot over 77 percent at the free throw line for fourth in the MW. UW's plus 3.6 turnover margin is second in the conference and its plus 15.9 scoring margin is fourth.
Colorado ended the 2011-12 campaign on a hot streak and has continued that into this season. The Buffs finished fifth in the Pac-12 regular season, before going on to win the Pac-12 tournament and advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament. Third-year head coach Tad Boyle returned two starters and six letterwinners from that squad and has guided CU to a 6-0 start to 2012-13 to earn the program's first ranking since 1996-97 at No. 19 in both polls. The Buffs earned a 74-59 home win over Wofford on Nov. 19, before going 3-0 at the Charleston Classic with wins over Dayton (67-57), Baylor (60-58) and Murray State (81-74). In its latest action, Colorado claimed home wins over Air Force, 89-74, on Sunday and Texas Southern, 85-80 in double overtime, on Tuesday. The Buffs are scoring 76.0 points per game, thanks to 47 percent from the field and 40 percent beyond the arc. Defensively, CU is allowing 67.0 points per game on 39 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep. Colorado has a plus 6.0 rebounding margin, but a minus 1.8 turnover margin.
Each Team's Leaders
Wyoming's trio of seniors continue to lead the way this season, as forward Leonard Washington, guard Luke Martinez and guard Derrious Gilmore all average in double figures. Washington ranks ninth in the MW at 14.1 points, seventh in rebounds at 8.7 and first in blocks at 2.1, as he has three double-doubles on the season. Martinez scores 13.3 points per game, thanks to a conference-high 3.3 threes per game and 45.1 percent beyond the arc. Gilmore contributes 12.1 points to go with a team-high 12 steals on the season for sixth in the MW. Two sophomores, Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau, round out Wyoming's probable starters. Nance, a forward, is averaging 8.6 points and 7.7 rebounds, while Grabau, a guard, has 23 assists on the season and just four turnovers. He entered the week fourth in the NCAA in assist-turnover ratio at 7.67. Martinez posted 17 points against UC Santa Barbara, while Gilmore and Nance both added 12 points.
Colorado has four scorers in double figures, led by junior forward Andre Roberson at 10.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. He also has a team-high 10 blocks and 14 steals on the season. Sophomore guard Askia Booker is CU's top scorer at 16.8 points per game and also dishes out a team-high 3.0 assists. He's complimented by fellow sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie at 14.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Josh Scott adds to CU's inside presence with 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, while senior guard Sabatino Chen rounds out the Buffs' probable starters at 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds. Dinwiddie posted 24 points against Texas Southern, while Scott posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Roberson had one as well with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
About the Series
Wyoming owns a 41-35 advantage in the all-time series with Colorado, including a 25-11 mark in Laramie. The Pokes are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with the Buffaloes and earned a 65-54 win in Boulder on Dec. 9, 2011, in the last clash between the two programs. Adam Waddell scored 17 second-half points in that game to help UW break a 23-game losing streak on the road. He was named MW Player of the Week for his efforts.
The Pokes have a short turnaround, as they play at Illinois State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. MT for the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.