LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team begins play in the Global Sports Classic on Thursday by hosting Southern at 7 p.m. MT. The Cowboys (5-3) had their 16-game nonconference winning streak in the Arena-Auditorium snapped last Saturday against California, but look to start a new streak against the Jaguars (5-2) who have wins over Mississippi State and Tulane this year. The first two games of the Global Sports Classic will be played on campus sites, while the last two games will be played at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.
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 ROOT Sports (Charter: 523, DirecTV: 659) and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats, audio and video of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com.
A Look at the Matchup
Larry Shyatt has coached the Cowboys to a 5-3 start to 2015-16, including a 78-72 overtime loss to California last Saturday most recently. Wyoming had a two-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the extra period, but the Bears scored on their next four possessions to pull back in front by six with 24 seconds left. The Pokes hit a three to cut the deficit to three, but Cal made free throws to ice the game. The loss snapped a 16-game home nonconference winning streak for Wyoming. The Cowboys shot 44 percent (24-of-55) from the field, but just 30 percent (7-of-23) from deep and 65 percent (17-of-26) at the free-throw line. UW's 55 attempted shots were its most this season, while its seven made threes tied a season low. Cal countered with 44 percent (28-of-63) and 42 percent (8-of-19), respectively. The Bears earned a 43-32 advantage on the boards, including 12-5 in offensive boards, but committed 26 fouls to 16 for the Cowboys. On the season, Wyoming averages 72.9 points on 47 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep, while allowing 68.9 points on 43 and 33 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 9.1 threes per game, which ranks third in the MW and 46th in the NCAA. Wyoming's 10.7 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and are 34th in the nation, while its 15.9 fouls per game are first in the conference and 11th nationally.
Fifth-year head coach Roman Banks returned four starters from last season and has Southern out to a 5-2 start to 2015-16. The Jaguars lost their opener at Arkansas, but rebounded with impressive wins at Mississippi State and at home against Tulane. Most recently, Southern had its five-game winning streak snapped with a 70-56 loss at Grand Canyon last Tuesday. The Jaguars had a two-point lead at halftime, but got outscored by 16 in the second half. Southern shot just 37 percent (22-of-59) from the field and 29 percent (7-of-24) from deep, while allowing Grand Canyon to hit 50 (26-of-52) and 31 percent (5-of-16), respectively. Southern trailed 41-28 in rebounds and 17-7 in assists. Overall, the Jaguars score 76.9 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from three, but allow 72.4 points on 44 and 32 percent, respectively. Southern has a minus 8.0 rebounding margin and a plus 5.1 turnover margin on the season.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams continued his torrid start to the season with a game-high 32 points against California last Saturday. He tied career highs with 10 made field goals and five threes. He averages 24.9 points per game this season for first in the MW and fifth in the nation, while adding 4.9 rebounds and a team-high 4.4 assists. His 3.0 triples per game are first in the MW and 41st nationally. Junior guard Jason McManamen is UW's other scorer in double figures at 11.0 points per contest. He had nine points versus the Bears and is shooting a team-high 45 percent from deep this season. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon leads Wyoming inside at 8.6 points, a team-high 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He's notched nine blocks in the last five games. Fellow sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes started against the Bears and posted a career-high 10 points. He averages 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds on the season. Sophomore guard Jeremy Lieberman rounds out the probable starters at 3.0 points and 1.0 assists per game.
Southern is paced by senior guard Adrian Rodgers at 16.1 points per game to go with 3.9 rebounds. He has made a team-high 18 threes this season and shoots 42 percent beyond the arc. Rodgers had a team-high 13 points at Grand Canyon. Junior guard Trelun Banks contributes 12.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists, while junior forward Shawn Prudhomme rounds out SU's double-figure scorers at 14.3 points and 3.0 rebounds. Prudhomme comes off the bench, though, and averages just 24 minutes per game. Senior guard Christopher Hyder leads the Jaguars in assists at 5.4 per game to go with 9.7 points. Sophomore forward Jared Sam is SU's inside presence with a team-high 5.6 rebounds and 8.1 points per game. Junior forward D'Adrian Allen is the other Jaguar probable starter at 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest.
About the Series
The Cowboys are 2-0 all-time against the Jaguars with both meetings coming in Laramie. Wyoming won 67-60 on Nov. 16, 2012 and downed the Jaguars, 57-39, on Dec. 20, 2014. In the last meeting Josh Adams posted a game-high 16 points, but it was a strong defensive effort that gave the Pokes the 57-39 win. It was the eighth foe UW had held below 50 points that season.
Wyoming takes a quick break from the Global Sports Classic to play at New Mexico State on Sunday. Tip is set for 7 p.m. MT in Las Cruces, N.M.