Dec. 2, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team welcomes another regional foe to the Arena-Auditorium on Monday when the Cowboys host Black Hills State at 7 p.m. MT. The Pokes (5-2) will look to build on an unblemished 5-0 home record this season, while the Yellow Jackets (2-1) seek a victory in their first road contest of 2013-14.
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 and televised by ROOT Sports (Charter: 23; DirecTV: 683; Dish Network: 414). Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming is a solid 5-2 on the season, including a perfect 5-0 mark in the Arena-Auditorium. The two losses have come on the road at Colorado and No. 7/6 Ohio State. Most recently, the Cowboys claimed a 79-54 home win over Montana State last Saturday night. The Pokes led by just five at halftime, but came out of the locker room with a 16-3 run and shot 81 percent (13-of-16) from the field in the second half. Wyoming quickly build on a 37-32 halftime lead by making six of its first eight shots in the second half and holding the Bobcats to a 1-of-9 start. A couple thunderous dunks put Wyoming up 53-35 just six minutes into the half. MSU would only get as close as 13 down the stretch, shooting just 31 percent (9-of-29) in the second half. Wyoming shot a season-high 61 percent (25-of-41) from the field and added a season-high 71 percent (10-of-14) from deep, to shoot over 70 percent from beyond the arc for the first time since 2003. After shooting over 57 and 62 percent, respectively, in the first half, Montana State managed just 31 and 11 in the second to finish at 42 percent (21-of-50) and 35 percent (6-of-17) for the game. Wyoming claimed a 31-22 advantage on the boards, 28-16 in points in the paint and 16-10 in assists. The Cowboys are averaging 70.4 points per game this season on 49 percent from the field and 42 percent beyond the arc, while holding opponents to 60.6 points on 38 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
Head coach Bradd Schafer returned three starters and 10 letterwinners from last season and has Black Hills State out to a 2-1 start to the 2013-14 season. The Yellow Jackets have played three home games so far, earning a 97-77 win over Montana State-Billings, before falling to South Dakota Mines, 72-68. Most recently, BHSU defeated Augustana, 83-67, last Saturday. The Yellow Jackets took at 37-33 lead at halftime and extended the lead to double digits through the first five minutes of the second half. The Vikings would make several runs in the second half, but were unable to overcome consistent play from BHSU. The Yellow Jackets shot 53 percent (28-of-53) from the field and 47 percent (9-of-19) from behind the arc, while holding Augie to a 42 percent (26-of-62) and 23 percent (6-of-26) shooting effort. The Yellow Jackets average 82.7 points per game on 50 percent from the field and 43 percent beyond the arc, while opponents score 72.0 points per game on 48 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Black Hills State was picked to finish 12th in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason poll and had no players on the preseason team.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Riley Grabau continued his torrid start to the season with a game-high 19 points against Montana State last Saturday, thanks to a career-high five threes. His 57 percent from the field ranks seventh in the Mountain West, while his 67 percent beyond the arc leads the conference and the NCAA. He averages a team-high 15.0 points per game. Sophomore guard Josh Adams provided several highlight-reel dunks against the Bobcats en route to 17 points and three steals. Adams contributes 11.4 points and a team-high 2.3 assists per game. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. pulled down 11 rebounds against MSU for his second-straight game in double-figure boards. He averages 11.3 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. continues to show improvement, as his 7.4 rebounds are second on the team and he adds 6.9 points. Senior guard Nathan Sobey rounds out UW's probable starters and was one of four Cowboys to score in double figures against Montana State. He posted 11 points to reach double figures for the first time in 2013-14 and averages 7.6 on the season.
Senior guard Tommy Earl paces Black Hills State at 15.7 points per game, as he scored 14 against Augustana. He shoots 55 percent from the field and averages 2.0 steals per game on the defensive end. Junior guard Joey Mitchell notched 16 points versus Augustana and averages 14.3 on the season thanks to 54 percent beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Riley Ryan had a team-high 17 points against Augustana and rounds out BHSU's double-figure scorers at 12.3 points per game. He adds 4.7 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Brady Bisgaard runs the point for the Yellow Jackets with a team-high 2.3 assists per game and adds 8.0 points. Senior forward Cameron Anderson averages a team-high 7.0 rebounds to go with 7.0 points. Earl, Ryan and Anderson hail from Casper, Sheridan and Gillette, respectively.
About the Series
Wyoming and Black Hills State will meet for the first time on Monday night.
The Pokes play their first neutral-court game of the season with a trip to Rapid City, S.D., to face South Dakota on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. MT in the Civic Center.