LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team seeks its first road win of the 2015-16 season on Wednesday, but faces a tough task at Denver. The home team has won in each of the last 13 meetings between the Cowboys (4-2) and Pioneers (5-1), as the Pokes have not claimed a victory in Magness Arena since 2001.Tip is set for 7 p.m. MT.
The contest will be televised by ROOT Sports (Charter: 523, DirecTV: 659) and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats and audio of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com.
A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys and head coach Larry Shyatt upped their record to 4-2 with an 82-68 win over Montana State last Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. Wyoming was behind by four, 40-36, at the break, before coming out of the break with a quick 5-0 spurt to retake the lead. The Cowboys and Bobcats would swap the advantage for several minutes, before back-to-back threes gave Wyoming the lead for good five minutes into the second half. The Pokes would extend the lead to as much as 15 at 72-57 with six minutes remaining. Wyoming shot 51 percent (27-of-53) from the field for the third game this season above 50 percent, and added 42 percent (11-of-26) from deep and 77 percent (17-of-22) at the charity stripe. MSU connected on 44 percent (26-of-59) and 37 percent (10-of-27), respectively. Wyoming led in rebounds for the first time this season with a 35-33 advantage on the boards and added a 17-8 lead in assists. On the season, Wyoming averages 74.0 points on 47 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep, while allowing 70.4 points on 43 and 35 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 9.8 threes per game, which ranks second in the MW and 29th in the NCAA. Wyoming's 9.6 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and are 14th in the nation, while its plus 1.4 assist-turnover ratio is first in the conference and 44th nationally.
Longtime head coach Joe Scott has a young Denver squad out to a 5-1 start to 2015-16. Like the Cowboys, the Pioneers added six freshmen this season. 77 percent (13-of-17) of DU's roster is underclassmen to 80 percent for Wyoming. The Pioneers opened with a 71-58 setback versus Milwaukee on Nov. 13, but have since reeled off five-straight victories. Denver downed Santa Clara, 55-33, and Lipscomb, 82-69, before earning home wins over Utah Valley, 75-62, Idaho State, 79-69, and most recently South Alabama, 69-56, last Saturday. The Pioneers used the help of their three seniors, who combined to score 47 of Denver's 69 points. DU jumped out to a 24-point lead in the second half and the Jaguars were able to cut the deficit, but the lead never got closer than nine points. Denver shot 57 percent (25-of-44), to South Alabama's 39 percent (18-of-46) from the field for the game. The Pioneers shot just 31 percent from behind the three-point line (5-of-16), while the Jaguars hit 23 percent (4-of-17) from three. Overall, Denver scores 69.7 points per game on 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from deep. DU is 35th in the NCAA in three-point percentage. Defensively, the Pioneers allow 60.0 points on 39 and 32 percent, respectively. The Pioneers are 18th in the nation in scoring defense. DU has a minus 2.2 rebounding margin, but a plus 1.0 turnover margin.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams topped 20 points for the fourth-straight game with 25 against Montana State last Saturday. His 24.6 points per game lead the MW and rank fifth in the NCAA, as he adds 4.6 rebounds and a team-high 4.8 assists per game. His 3.2 triples per game are first in the conference and 34th nationally, while his 4.8 assists are fourth. Junior guard Jason McManamen tied his career high for a second-consecutive contest with 16 points versus the Bobcats. He averages 11.6 points per game, thanks in part to a team-high 48 percent (11-of-14) beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds against MSU and averages a team-high 5.0 per game to go with 7.8 points and 1.4 blocks. Fellow sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes in the other half of UW's frontcourt at 2.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Alexander Aka Gorski made his first career start last Saturday. He adds 5.6 points and 1.2 assists per game.
Senior guard Nate Engesser is Denver's top scorer at 16.2 points per game, but he comes off the bench and averages 22.5 minutes per game. He adds 3.3 rebounds and is shooting 62 percent from the field this season and 58 percent from deep, which ranks fifth in the nation. His 3.5 triples per game are 16th in the NCAA. He had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists against South Alabama. Senior guard Bryant Rucker contributes 10.0 points per game and freshman guard Joe Rosga adds 10.3. Rucker had a season-high 16 points versus South Alabama, while Rosga notched 10 points and a season-high seven rebounds. Redshirt senior forward Marcus Byrd scored a game-high 16 against South Alabama and averages 9.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Freshman forward C.J. Bobbitt adds 7.8 points and a team-high 4.3 rebounds per contest and freshman guard Thomas Neff rounds out DU's probable starters at 3.3 points and 2.0 assists.
About the Series
The Pokes own a 102-50 lead in the all-time series with the Pioneers, including 39-35 in Denver, but the home team has won each of the last 13 meetings between the two programs. Wyoming has not won at Denver since 2001. In their last matchup, the Cowboys won a 68-42 home game over the Pioneers on Dec. 2, 2014. Wyoming led by as many as 27 points late in the second half thanks to 17 points from Larry Nance Jr. and 10 from Charles Hankerson Jr.
Wyoming hosts its biggest opponent of the nonconference season when RV/RV California visits the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.