Dec. 2, 2011
Laramie, Wyo. -
After notching a program-record seven wins during the month of November, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team attempts to continue its hot streak into the month of December by hosting Bradley for the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (7-1) are seeking their first six-game winning streak since 2002-03 this weekend, while the Braves (3-3) enter with three consecutive losses. Saturday's game concludes Wyoming's longest homestand of the 2011-12 season.
Tickets to all UW games can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at WyomingAthletics.com. Fans can also follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's games, as well as live video of the postgame press conference, through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio through the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming finished a solid month of November by claiming a dominant 74-41 win over Utah Valley on Wednesday night. The performance wrapped up a 7-1 month for the Cowboys, which marked their most November wins in the history of the program. UW is currently on a five-game winning streak, which includes three wins in three days during the Jim Thorpe Classic last weekend. Saturday's contest will be Wyoming's fifth game in nine days. The Cowboys have played salty defense all season, but have started to gain confidence on the offensive end of the floor as well. Wyoming currently leads the Mountain West in scoring defense at 49.5 points per game, field goal percent defense (35.2) and three-point field goal percent defense (24.8). The UW offense ranks second in field goal percent (47.7) and first in free throw percent (76.5).
Bradley returns three starters from a team that went 12-20 overall and 4-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference last season, and also welcomes first-year head coach Geno Ford. The Braves have opened the 2011-12 campaign with a 3-3 mark. BU started with three-straight home wins over Missouri-Kansas City, Southeast Missouri State and North Dakota all by 10 points or less. Bradley suffered its first loss of the season, 70-66, to Wofford at home on Nov. 22 and most recently lost to Wisconsin, 66-43, and Nevada, 64-59, as part of the Chicago Invitational Challenge last weekend. As a team the Braves are scoring 63.3 points per game on 44.1 percent from the floor. BU has attempted just 76 threes through six games and have hit 26 percent (20). Bradley has a minus 0.7 rebounding and minus 1.2 turnover margin, while averaging 4.0 blocks per game.
Each Team's Leaders
Three Cowboys are scoring in double figures, led by senior guard Francisco Cruz at 13.5 per contest to go with 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez contributes 11.9 points thanks in part to a team-high 17 treys, while redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington adds 11.1 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds. Washington is also leading the Mountain West at 1.2 blocks per contest, while senior center Adam Waddell is second at 1.0 to go with 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds. Senior guard JayDee Luster entered the week leading the nation in assist-turnover ratio and is currently at 7.8 after earning five assists and one turnover against Utah Valley. Washington paced UW versus the Wolverines with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Cruz scored 11.
Bradley is guided by senior forward Taylor Brown at 18.0 points per game, including scoring 18 against Nevada, in addition to 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest. Junior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards is contributing 13.8 points with a team-high nine threes, while leading the team in assists at 4.6 per game. The Braves have a young inside game with sophomore center Jordan Prosser and freshman forward Shayok Shayok. Prosser is nearly averaging a double-double with 9.2 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds, while Shayok adds 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds but is averaging only 15 minutes per contest. Sophomore guard Walt Lemon Jr. rounds out BU's probable starters at 9.8 points and 2.1 assists per game and notched 14 versus Nevada.
About the Series
Saturday's meeting will be the second all-time meeting between Bradley and Wyoming. The Cowboys lost a 77-63 contest in Peoria, Ill., on March 30, 1951 in the two program's only meeting.
The Cowboys are 1-1 in the first two years of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge. Wyoming lost a 72-54 decision at Northern Iowa in 2009-10, but beat Indiana State, 81-51, last season in Laramie. Overall, the MW holds a 12-6 lead in the first two years of the challenge.
The Cowboys hit the road for just the second time through the first 10 games of 2011-12, when Wyoming renews its rivalry with Colorado on Dec. 9. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo.