Dec. 7, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
This Saturday's meeting between the University of Wyoming and the University of Colorado will be the 74th meeting in the series between the Cowboys and Buffaloes. Wyoming leads the series with CU 39-34, and has won 24 of the 35 meetings played in Laramie.
The Cowboys will enter the game with a 3-3 overall record this year. CU is 5-3 on the season.
For only the third time this season, the Wyoming Cowboys will play a home game when they host CU. Wyoming has played only two home games to date, with four of its first six games of the 2007-08 season being played on the road. Wyoming is 2-0 in home games this year, and is 1-3 on the road.
Wyoming is one of the top shooting teams in the nation as of the most recent NCAA statistical rankings. The Cowboys rank No. 24 in the nation in field-goal percentage. UW is shooting 50.0 percent from the field this season, making 149 of 298 field-goal attempts.
A year ago, Wyoming and Colorado renewed their rivalry with a meeting in Boulder. It marked the first time since the 1998-99 season that the two Rocky Mountain schools had played. The date was Nov. 26, 2006, and Wyoming captured a three-point, 76-73, victory. Leading the way for the Pokes was Brandon Ewing, who scored 29 points. Brad Jones added 17 points, and led UW in both rebounds, with six, and assists, with eight. Wyoming led by one point at halftime, 33-32. The game was tied nine times in the second half. The largest second-half lead by the Cowboys was six points. The largest for CU in the second half was two points. The Buffs held a two-point lead, 73-71, with 30 seconds remaining in the game, but UW came back to score the final five points of the game on a three-point play by Daaron Brown and one free throw apiece by Brad Jones and Eric Platt, to seal the 76-73 win.
This Saturday's game between Wyoming and Colorado will mark the first time UW has hosted CU since Dec. 9, 1998. In that last meeting between the two Front Range rivals in Laramie, Wyoming won by a score of 67-66. Wyoming was led in scoring that night by Ugo Udezue, who scored a career high 36 points to give the Cowboys the one-point victory. Udezue hit the game-winning basket on a tip-in with 10 seconds remaining. Wyoming outscored Colorado 8-1 in the final 1:27 of the game to capture the home win. UW trailed by six points, 59-65, after a three-point play by CU's Ernest Renfroe at the 1:35 mark. Wyoming's LeDarion Jones then scored on a layup followed by three consecutive field goals by Udezue for the victory. Three Cowboys recorded double-doubles on the day. Sophomore Udezue grabbed 11 rebounds to go with his 36 points. Junior Jones scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and freshman Josh Davis scored 10 points and grabbed 11 boards.
While the Wyoming Cowboys and Colorado Buffaloes didn't play each other for seven seasons from 1999-2000 through 2005-06, the two teams do have a long history playing one another, dating back to the first meeting on Jan. 13, 1908. Over the past 20 seasons from the 1987-88 season through the 2006-07 season, UW and CU played 14 times. During that 20-year period, Wyoming has dominated the series, winning 10 of the last 14 games over the past 20 seasons.
The last time a Big 12 Conference team visited Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium was the last time Wyoming hosted Colorado on Dec. 9, 1998.
While a Big 12 opponent hasn't visited the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie since 1998, two Big 12 schools have traveled to the state of Wyoming to face the Cowboys since that time. On Dec. 14, 2002, Texas Tech faced Wyoming in the Wyoming Shootout in Casper, Wyo. Wyoming won that game by a score of 67-62. The most recent Big 12 opponent to visit the state of Wyoming was Kansas State. The Wildcats defeated UW by a score of 64-61 on Dec. 11, 2004, also in the Wyoming Shootout in Casper.
There are several individuals involved in Saturday's Wyoming-Colorado game that have ties to both programs. Of course former Wyoming head coach Steve McClain is now an assistant coach at Colorado. Current Wyoming sophomore forward Ryan Dermody originally walked on to the CU Basketball program before transferring to Wyoming. Cowboy assistant coach Shaun Vandiver was the Big 8 Conference Newcomer of the Year at Colorado for the 1988-89 season. He went on to earn First Team All-Conference honors in both 1989-90 and 1990-91. Vandiver also played in the Wyoming-Colorado series all three years he was in college.
Wyoming and Colorado have played one common opponent this season -- the University of Denver. Both UW and and CU played at Denver earlier this year. The Cowboys lost at DU by a score of 65-76, while CU won at Denver, 54-44.
Wyoming junior point guard Brandon Ewing scored 24 points at Akron on Dec. 1, 2007, to improve his career scoring total to 1,152 career points and move up four positions to 19th place on the Wyoming career scoring chart. Ewing passed, Joe Capua (1,137 points from 1954-56), Milo Komenich (1,140 points from 1941-46), Theo Ratliff (1,142 points from 1992-95) and Mike Jackson (1,148 points from 1980-83).