LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Dome of Doom will surely be rocking on Saturday when the University of Wyoming men's basketball team hosts California for the first time ever in Laramie. The Cowboys (5-2) expect their largest crowd of the nonconference season for the Golden Bears (5-2), who are receiving votes in both national polls. Wyoming has downed the last seven Pac-12 members to visit the Arena-Auditorium and the last eight Power 5 members. The game has been tabbed a Gold Rush, as fans are encouraged to wear their best gameday gold to match Wyoming's new alternate gold uniforms. Tip is set for 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. The contest will be televised by CBS Sports Network (Charter: 634, DirecTV: 221) 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
Head coach Larry Shyatt has guided Wyoming to a 5-2 start to the season, including most recently a 68-52 victory at Denver last Wednesday. The victory was the first on the road this season for the Cowboys and the first in Magness Arena since 2001. The Pioneers trailed by 12 in the first half, but battled back to take a lead early after halftime. The two squads were within three points of each other for the majority of the second, before Denver took a 48-47 advantage with 7:41 remaining. That's what Wyoming crafted a 16-0 spurt to go up by 15 with just two minutes left, as the Cowboy defense held Denver to just four points over the final seven minutes. Wyoming shot 53 percent (20-of-38) from the field for its fourth game over 50 percent this season and added 45 percent (8-of-18) from deep and 83 percent (20-of-24) at the charity stripe. Denver made 40 percent (19-of-47) from the field, but just 16 percent (3-of-19) beyond the arc. The Cowboys claimed a 29-21 advantage on the boards and committed seven less fouls, but turned the ball over 15 teams for their second game this season in double-figure turnovers. On the season, Wyoming averages 73.0 points on 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep, while allowing 67.3 points on 43 and 32 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 9.5 threes per game, which ranks second in the MW and 43rd in the NCAA. Wyoming's 10.5 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and are 30th in the nation, while its 15.8 fouls per game are first in the conference and 12th nationally.
Cal went 18-15 in 2014-15 during head coach Cuonzo Martin's first season. The Bears welcomed back three starters from that squad and added two of the top recruits in the nation to earn second in the Pac-12's preseason poll. Cal opened this season 4-0 and was ranked as high as No. 13, before suffering two-straight losses last week. The Bears were still receiving votes in both of Monday's national polls, though. Most recently, Cal rebounded with a 66-52 home win over Seattle last Tuesday in a game that featured six ties and four lead changes. The Bears trailed by three with nine minutes left, but ran off a 12-0 run to take control of the game. Cal shot 40 percent (23-of-57) from the field, but just 29 percent (6-of-21) from deep and 56 percent (14-of-25) at the charity stripe. The Bears earned a 50-36 advantage on the boards and attempted 21 more free throws than Seattle. Overall, Cal scores 79.3 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 30 percent beyond the arc. Defensively, the Bears allow 67.9 points on 38 and 38 percent, respectively. Cal owns a plus 8.7 rebounding margin, but a minus 1.9 turnover margin.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams paced four Pokes in double figures at Denver with a game-high 19 points and career-high nine rebounds. His 23.7 points per game lead the MW and rank 10th in the NCAA, as he adds 5.3 rebounds and a team-high 4.5 assists per game. His 2.7 threes per game are fourth in the MW and his 1.7 steals are fifth. Junior guard Jason McManamen is UW's other scorer in double figues at 11.3 points per contest. He had 10 points versus the Pioneers and is shooting a team-high 50 percent from deep this season. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon leads Wyoming inside at 8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He's notched eight blocks in the last four games. The Pokes also started sophomore guards Alexander Aka Gorski and Jeremy Lieberman last Wednesday at Denver. Aka Gorski posted a career-high 15 points, thanks in part to three triples, while Lieberman tied a career high with four assists. Aka Gorski averages 7.2 points to 3.5 for Lieberman.
Four Bears average double-figure points, led by senior guard Tyrone Wallace at 18.4 per game. He adds a team-high 5.0 assists and is shooting 51 percent from the field this season. He nearly finished with a triple-double against Seattle after 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Freshman forward Jaylen Brown was one of the nation's top prospects last season and is showing why at 15.7 points per game. Both Wallace and Brown pull down 6.0 rebounds per game and both were named to this season's Naismith Trophy watch list last Wednesday. Freshman forward Ivan Rabb was just as highly touted and contributes 12.4 points, a team-high 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Junior guard Jordan Mathews rounds out Cal's double-figure scorers at 11.4 points. Sophomore center Kameron Rooks is the other Bear probable starter after making his first start of the season against Seattle. He adds 3.7 points and 3.7 boards per game.
About the Series
The Pokes trail 2-4 in the all-time series with the Bears, but Saturday will be Cal's first trip to the Arena-Auditorium. In the last meeting between the two programs, the Bears earned a 45-42 home win over the Cowboys on Dec. 10, 2014. Wyoming battle through its fourth-lowest scoring game in shot clock history and was within two of Cal with 24 seconds left, but two-straight turnovers gave the Bears the victory. Larry Nance Jr. had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Wyoming begins play in the Global Sports Classic by hosting Southern at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Arena-Auditorium.