Tough Road Challenge Awaits Wyoming at SMU

Dec. 4, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Gameday Central | Game Notes   Get Acrobat Reader

It's another meeting of two legendary Larrys on Friday when the University of Wyoming men's basketball team faces SMU at 5 p.m. MT in Dallas. Head coach Larry Shyatt and the Cowboys (7-0) are receiving votes in both national polls, but now face their first road game of the season, while head coach Larry Brown and the Mustangs (4-3) have won 16 of their last 18 in Moody Coliseum and started the season ranked No. 22 in the nation.

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 and televised by ESPNews (632 on Charter and 207 on DirecTV) . Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.

A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming moved to 7-0 on the season with a dominant 68-42 win over Denver on Tuesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys used another team effort to outscore the Pioneers by 19 in the second half and hold their fifth opponent this season to less than 50 points. Wyoming trailed by five points midway through the first, but rallied to end the half on an 18-4 run for a seven-point lead into halftime. The Cowboys opened the second half with a 9-0 spurt and extended the advantage to as many as 27 points with three minutes left. The Pokes held the Pioneers to one field goal the last seven minutes of the first half and one basket the first six minutes of the second half. Wyoming shot 59 percent (22-of-37) from the field for the game, including 71 percent (12-of-17) in the second half, and has hit more than 50 percent in all seven games this season. The Pokes missed all seven threes in the first half, but hit 5-of-8 after halftime. Denver shot 38 percent (15-of-39) from the field and 27 percent (5-of-18) beyond the arc, but was outrebounded 28-20 and outscored in the paint 32-18. On the season, Wyoming averages 67.4 points per game on 55 percent from the field and 37 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys rank first in the MW and second nationally in field-goal percentage, while their 18.1 assists per game also lead the conference and are 12th in the nation. Defensively, the Pokes allow 50.3 points per game on 39 and 35 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is fifth in the NCAA, while its 14 fouls per game are eighth.

SMU was the NIT runner-up last season with a 27-10 overall record and 12-6 in the American Athletic Conference, but the Mustangs returned just one starter and four letterwinners from that squad. SMU is off to a 4-3 start to this season, including 4-1 at home, but is already facing its third opponent that is ranked or receiving votes. Most recently, the Mustangs earned a 63-51 home win over Monmouth last Sunday. SMU closed the first half with a 12-2 run to lead by 11 points at halftime and stretched the advantage to as many as 19 midway through the second half. The Mustangs shot 45 percent (23-of-51) from the field and 33 percent (5-of-15) beyond the arc, while outrebounding Monmouth 33-28 and forcing 16 turnovers. Overall, SMU averages 71.6 points on 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from three, while allowing 65.1 points on 41 and 35 percent, respectively. The Mustangs rank 41st in the nation in field-goal percentage, 18th in free throw percentage at 76 percent and 38th in assists with 16.3 per game. SMU was picked to finish second in the American by the league's coaches.

Each Team's Leaders
It was more Larry Nance Jr. against Denver, as the senior forward hung 17 points, five rebounds and two steals on the Pioneers. The MW Preseason Player of the Year averages team highs of 15.0 points, 6.0 points and 1.1 blocks per game, while shooting 62 percent from the field. He is just seven points shy of 1,000 for his career. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr.'s 10 points and five assists all came in Tuesday's second half, as he averages 9.4 points and 3.8 assists per game. Junior guard Josh Adams added 11 points and six dimes versus the Pioneers. He is UW's other scorer in double figures at 10.3 per game and adds a team-high 4.3 assists. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. is shooting 85 percent this season, thanks in part to dunks on 14 of his 23 baskets. He averages 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds. Senior guard Riley Grabau rounds out UW's probable starters at 7.1 points and 2.3 assists, while he also leads the MW at the free throw line with 94 percent for the season.

A preseason All-AAC selection and recently named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List, redshirt junior guard Nic Moore paces the Mustangs at 14.4 points and 5.5 assists per game. His 96 percent at the free throw line is ninth in the NCAA. He posted a game-high 23 points to go with five assists and four steals against Monmouth. Moore has plenty of help, though, as three other Mustangs average in double-figure points. Senior center Yanick Moreira contributes 11.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, while sophomore guard Keith Frazier is right behind him at 11.1 points and 4.3 rebounds. Moreira is shooting 58 percent from the field, while Frazier is second on the team with 13 threes this season. Sophomore forward Ben Moore paces SMU at 6.9 rebounds and adds 10.3 points and 2.7 assists. Senior guard Ryan Manuel rounds out SMU's probable starters at 4.1 points and 2.1 rebounds. Nic Moore, Ben Moore and Moreira have started all seven games, but five Mustangs have started the fifth spot this season.

About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with SMU, 4-3, but is 1-2 against the Mustangs in Dallas. That one win however, came in the Cowboys' last trip to SMU on Jan. 2, 2013. In that game, the Pokes trailed by four with six minutes left, but Leonard Washington scored 13 of UW's final 17 points to give the Cowboys a 59-56 win and the best start in program history at 13-0.

Up Next
The Pokes host Regis on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.