Dec. 7, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team looks to extend its perfect start to the 2012-13 season to 10-0 when the Cowboys host Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The 9-0 Pokes are coming off a dramatic 81-67 road win at Illinois State on Tuesday, as UW closed the game on a 36-7 run for the come-from-behind victory. The NCAA Division II Aggies are 4-4 on the season and most recently captured a high-scoring 113-104 home win over Paul Quinn College on Thursday.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at GoWYO.com. Fans can follow live stats and live video of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming has turned heads with its 9-0 start to the season, its best since beginning the 1987-88 campaign with an 11-game winning streak. The Pokes are receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, which were released on Monday, prior to Wyoming's 81-67 victory at Illinois State on Tuesday. The Cowboys crafted quite an amazing comeback against the Redbirds. UW was down 19 points, 50-31, three minutes into the second half, but crafted a 36-7 run over the final 12 minutes to steal the come-from-behind victory. Wyoming shot a season-high 54 percent from the field, including 64 percent in the second half, and 92 percent at the free throw line en route to a season-high 52 points in the second half and a season-high 81 total points. The Pokes forced Illinois State into 20 turnovers and notched 12 steals. The Cowboys lead the Mountain West in scoring defense by allowing 55.3 points per game, rank third in blocked shots at 4.0 and third in field goal percentage defense at 37.8. Offensively, the Cowboys are third in three-point makes at 7.2 per game and third in field-goal percentage (45.4). UW's plus 4.3 turnover margin is second in the conference and its plus 14.7 scoring margin is second.
A member of the Heartland Conference in NCAA Division II, Oklahoma Panhandle State enters its sixth season under head coach Jerry Olson in 2012-13. Olson and the Aggies went 3-23 overall and 0-14 in conference play last season and returned two starters and four letterwinners from that squad. OPSU has started the 2012-13 campaign with a 4-4 mark, including 3-1 at home and 1-3 away from home. OPSU beat Western State 91-88 at home on Nov. 24, an opponent Wyoming beat 62-42 to open the season. The Aggies are 2-2 in their last four games, and most recently earned a 113-104 home win over Paul Quinn College on Thursday night. OPSU is averaging over 89 points per game thanks to 47 percent from the field and 41 percent beyond the arc, while adding 17.5 assists per contest. On the defensive end, the Aggies allow opponents 83 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep. Oklahoma Panhandle State has a plus 6.1 turnover margin, but a minus 7.4 rebounding margin.
Each Team's Leaders
The Cowboy starters once again paced the way for Wyoming on Tuesday against Illinois State. All five played more than 30 minutes, including a second-straight game of 40 minutes for senior guard Derrious Gilmore. He is one of four Pokes averaging in double figures on the season, at 12.2 points and 3.1 assists per game. Senior forward Leonard Washington leads Wyoming at 15.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. He ranks in the top eight in the Mountain West in each category. Senior guard Luke Martinez adds 13.7 points, hitting over 41 percent of his threes, but also added a UW single-game record nine steals against the Redbirds. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. posted a career-high 19 points versus ISU and averages 10.3 points and 7.4 rebounds on the season. Freshman guard Josh Adams made his first career start on Tuesday in place of injured sophomore guard Riley Grabau and scored a career-high 15 points to go with four assists. Grabau had one of the top assist-turnover ratios in the nation at 6.0, before missing the last game. Five Cowboys have scored in double figures for two-consecutive games.
Five Aggies average in double figures, led by senior Damar Hill at 13.0 points and 4.5 assists per game. Junior T.J. Farrell shoots a team-high 57 percent beyond the arc to add 12.8 points, while fellow junior Krys Randolph is right behind at 12.4 points in a team-high 28 minutes. Junior Brandon Caruthers contributes 10.6 points and 4.0 assists off the bench and sophomore Michael Patterson rounds out OPSU's scorers at 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Hill, Randolph and junior Bill Lee have started all eight games, while Patterson earned his first start of the season on Thursday. Randolph posted 22 points against Paul Quinn College to pace six Aggies in double figures. Caruthers added 19 points, Farrell had18 and Patterson added 17.
About the Series
Saturday will be the first meeting between the two programs.
Wyoming has 10 days off, before hosting Denver at 7 p.m. MT on Tuesday, Dec. 18 in the Arena-Auditorium.