LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team faces its biggest road challenge so far this season when the Cowboys play at New Mexico State on Sunday at 7 p.m. MT in Las Cruces, N.M. The Pokes (5-4) are coming off their first back-to-back nonconference home losses under sixth-year head coach Larry Shyatt and now play at the Pan American Center where the Aggies (5-3) are an impressive 49-5 since the start of the 2012-13 season.
The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox College Sports Pacific and Altitude 2 and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats, audio and ESPN3 video of the game through the men’s basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com.
A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys dropped to 5-4 on the season following a 68-58 loss to Southern last Thursday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes never led, but trailed by just one at halftime, 27-26. Southern would come out of the break with an 8-0 spurt to go up by nine and extended the lead to as many as 12 points midway through the half. Wyoming cut the advantage to seven with eight minutes left, but that would be as close as the Cowboys would get, as the Jaguars ballooned the lead back to 17 down the stretch. Wyoming shot just 35 percent (17-of-48) from the field and the same percentage (10-of-29) beyond the arc, while Southern hit 44 percent (27-of-62) and 45 percent (5-of-11), respectively. The game was won inside, though, as the Jaguars earned a 45-25 advantage on the boards, including 14-3 on the offensive glass, en route to a 30-10 lead in points in the paint and 18-5 in second-chance points. It was UW’s worst rebounding margin this season. On the season, Wyoming averages 71.0 points on 46 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep, while allowing 68.8 points on 43 and 34 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 9.3 threes per game, which ranks third in the MW and 44th in the NCAA. Wyoming’s 10.8 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and are 37th in the nation, while its 16.0 fouls per game are first in the conference and 10th nationally.
Head coach Marvin Menzies has guided New Mexico State to the NCAA tournament the last four seasons, but returned just two starters from last year’s squad that went 23-11 overall and 13-1 in the WAC. The Aggies are still off to a 5-3 start to this season, though, including a 5-1 mark at home. Most recently, NMSU lost a 67-53 contest at Long Beach State last Saturday. The Aggies were within two early in the second half, but LBSU crafted an 11-2 run and never looked back. NMSU suffered its worst shooting game of the season, as it shot just 33 percent (18-of-54) from the field and 27 percent (4-of-15) from deep. The 49ers hit 43 and 56 percent, respectively, with 14 threes. NMSU outrebounded Long Beach 43-36, but committed 17 turnovers to 12 for the 49ers. Overall, the Aggies score 74.6 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 32 percent beyond the arc. Defensively, NMSU allows opponents 65.5 points on 39 and 34 percent, respectively. NMSU has a plus 15.3 rebounding margin, but a minus 4.2 turnover margin. Much like the Cowboys, the Aggies don’t foul often, as their 14.3 per game led the nation.
Each Team’s Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams scored a game-high 25 points versus Southern for his sixth contest with 20 or more this season. He also tied a career high with five made threes and has 10 in the last two games. He averages 24.9 points per game this season for first in the MW and fifth in the nation, while adding 4.5 rebounds and a team-high 4.5 assists. His 3.3 triples per game are first in the MW and 28th nationally. Junior guard Jason McManamen is UW’s other scorer in double figures at 10.8 points per contest. He had nine points versus the Jaguars and is shooting 40 percent from deep this season. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon leads Wyoming inside at 7.5 points, a team-high 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He has at least one block in six of seven games this season. Fellow sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes averages 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds on the season, while sophomore guard Alexander Aka Gorski rounds out the probable starters at 5.8 points and 1.0 assists per game.
New Mexico State’s Pascal Siakam is one of the top big men in the country. The sophomore forward has been named the WAC Player of the Week three-straight times and averages 24.9 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. The WAC Preseason Player of the Year is second in the NCAA in field goals made (77), fifth in scoring, third in rebounding and third in double-doubles with seven. He managed 14 points and 11 rebounds at Long Beach State. Junior guard Ian Baker also averages in double-figures at 14.6 points per game to go with 3.8 rebounds and a team-high 3.6 assists. He had 10 points and three assists against the 49ers. Along with Siakam and Baker, sophomore guard Matt Taylor has started all eight games to average 4.9 points and 4.8 rebounds. The other two starting spots have rotated between four Aggies. Freshman guard Rashawn Browne and sophomore forward Johnathon Wilkins got the nod at Long Beach State. Browne averages 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds to 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds for Wilkins.
About the Series
The Cowboys own a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with the Aggies, but are 0-2 in Las Cruces as the home team has won all five meetings. In the last meeting, Wyoming earned a 78-75 home win on Nov. 29, 2014. The Pokes trailed by one with just over four minutes left, but Larry Nance Jr. crafted a personal 7-2 run that put the Cowboys in control. Nance finished with 24 points in the game, including 19 in the second half. Adams contributed 15 points.
Wyoming hosts its second game of the Global Sports Classic by welcoming Omaha on Dec. 19 at 12 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.