LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Facing another tough road contest against a team with NCAA-tournament aspirations, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team heads to the West Coast for a mid-week matchup. The Pokes (8-1) travel to Berkeley, Calif., to face the Cal Golden Bears (7-1) at 9 p.m. MT Wednesday in Haas Pavilion. The Cowboys are seeking their first road victory of the season after a loss at SMU last Friday, while the Bears are 4-0 at home this season and receiving votes in both national polls.
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 the Pac-12 Network. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming is 8-1 on the season after rebounding from its first loss of the season with a dominant 70-35 win over Regis on Sunday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys were maintaining a slim advantage in the first half when a 12-2 run put the Pokes up by 18 at 33-15 with four minutes left in the first half. Wyoming would extend the lead to as many as 36 late in the second half, while holding its sixth opponent this season under 50 points. Wyoming shot 54 percent (28-of-52) from the field for its eighth game this season shooting over 50 percent from the field, while its 28 field goals were the most this season. Regis was held to 28 percent (14-of-49) from the field for the second-lowest field goal percentage given up by the Pokes this season. The Pokes dominated the paint, 36-6, and outrebounded the Rangers, 38-26. Wyoming's 38 rebounds were a season high and its fifth game with 30 or more rebounds this year. UW served up a season-high 14 second-chance points off of 10 offensive rebounds. On the season, Wyoming averages 66.1 points per game on 53 percent from the field and 35 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys rank first in the MW and fifth nationally in field goal percentage, while their 17.7 assists per game also lead the conference and are 14th 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 sixth.
Head coach Cuonzo Martin led Tennessee to the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen last season and is off to a fast start in his first season at California. The Golden Bears are 7-1 on the season, including 4-0 at home, with their only loss was to top-10 ranked Texas. Most recently, Cal earned a 63-56 come-from-behind win at Nevada on Sunday. Both teams struggled offensively, as Cal trailed by as much as eight in the first half and the Wolf Pack led 30-24 at halftime. Nevada was up 50-46 with 6:05 remaining before the Golden Bears ended the game with a 17-6 run to take a lead with 11 seconds remaining. The Bears shot just 39 percent (24-of-61) from the field, including 3-of-12 from three-point range, but got some key defensive stops late. Nevada missed its final six field-goal attempts and shot just 25 percent (7-of-27) in the second half. On the season, California averages 73.6 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc, while allowing 60.9 points on 36 and 25 percent, respectively. The Bears rank 27th in the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense and 14th in three-point defense. Cal's plus-1.5 assist-turnover ratio is 16th nationally, while its 10.8 turnovers per game are 20th.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Larry Nance Jr., the MW Preseason Player of the Year, is Wyoming's only player in double-figure points. Nance tallied his 1,000th point as a Cowboy in Sunday's game against Regis and leads the Pokes at 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Nance's 62 percent from the field this season ranks third in the MW and 29th in the nation. Junior Josh Adams contributes a team-high 4.2 assists per game, which rank second in the MW, to go with 9.8 points and 1.2 steals. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. is right behind him with 8.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists, thanks in part to 52 percent beyond the arc this season. Fellow senior guard Riley Grabau is an excellent shooter as well, as he connects on 94 percent at the free throw line, in addition to 7.9 points and 2.1 assists. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. has a team-high 21 dunks on the season to shoot 82 percent from the field. Cooke averages 7.6 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Junior guard Tyrone Wallace paces Cal at 19.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, as he has collected three double-doubles this season. He ranks 34th in the NCAA in points per game and 47th in rebounds after pouring in a career-high 29 points at Nevada, including 26 in the second half. Sophomore guard Jordan Mathews contributes 13.9 points per game, thanks in part to a team-high 16 threes this season, while senior forward David Kravish adds 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He ranks 52nd in the nation with 17 blocks this season and was the only other Cal player in double figures against Nevada with 11 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jabari Bird also averages double-figure points at 11.7 per game, but has not played in Cal's last two games due to injury. Sophomore guard Sam Singer has replaced him the last two starts at 3.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Redshirt junior forward Christian Behrens rounds out Cal's probable starters at 5.9 points and 4.6 rebounds.
About the Series
Wyoming trails in the all-time series with California, 2-3, but the two squads have met just once since the turn of the century and never in Laramie. The Cowboys are 1-2 at Berkeley, including an 80-55 loss on Dec. 9, 2003, in the last meeting between the two programs.
The Pokes return home for a Sunday contest with Montana State at noon MT. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.