Dec. 13, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team faces its second-straight road contest on Sunday when the Cowboys square off with Denver at 2 p.m. MT in Magness Arena. The Pokes (7-2) won a hard-fought 67-66 overtime contest over South Dakota last Saturday, but now visit the Pioneers (3-5), who have won three of their last four games. The home team has won each of the last 11 meetings between Wyoming and Denver.
Fans can follow live stats and audio of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming ran its 2013-14 record to 7-2 with a 67-66 overtime victory over South Dakota last Saturday in Rapid City, S.D. The Cowboys moved to 40-6 overall under head coach Larry Shyatt in the months of November and December. UW's two losses this season have both come on the road, at Colorado and No. 7/6 Ohio State. Against the Coyotes, Wyoming trailed most of the second half, including by as much as seven points at the midway point, but fought back in the final minute to take a 60-57 lead. USD made free throws with less than three seconds left to second the game to an extra period and took a 66-62 lead with 1:41 left. The Pokes responded to score the final five points of the game, including the game-winning free throw with two seconds left, to pull back in front. The Coyotes had a good look at a jumper for their final shot, but the shot skipped off the rim. The Pokes shot 43 percent (21-of-48) for the game and 36 percent (7-of-19) beyond the arc, compared to 35 percent (22-of-63) and 25 percent (5-of-20) for the Coyotes. USD earned a 39-33 advantage on the boards, but UW posted a 15-8 lead in assists and 7-2 in steals. For the season, Wyoming's 49.9 percent from the field leads the Mountain West, its 41.2 percent from deep is second and 71.0 points per game are ninth. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW in scoring defense at 61.7 points per game and in field goal percentage defense at 37.6. UW's 30.1 three-point defense is third in the MW.
Head coach Joe Scott returned three starters from a Denver squad that went 22-10 overall last season, including 16-2 in the WAC, to advance to the second round of the NIT. The Pioneers have started 2013-14 with a 3-5 record, but have played a challenging schedule. DU started the season 0-4 with three road games and two contests with Pac-12 opponents. Denver has won three of its last four games, though, while its one loss was in overtime on the road. Most recently, the Pioneers earned an 80-70 win at Colorado State last Wednesday. Denver shot a season-high 50.9 percent (29-of-57) from the floor, including 9-of-23 from the three-point line, and held a 29-27 rebounding advantage over the Rams with three coming on the offensive glass during a key stretch in which DU held the ball for nearly 90 seconds before scoring to stretch the lead to 63-54 with 5:14 remaining. Neither team led by more than four points in the first half, but the Pioneers held a 31-29 edge at the break. After nine lead changes and six ties, the Pioneers began pulling away midway through the second half. Denver hit a three-point play with 1:28 remaining that for a 12-point lead, its largest of the game. The Pioneers average 64.9 points per game on 41.7 percent from the field and 35.0 beyond the arc, while allowing opponents 69.8 points on 50.3 and 42.9 percent, respectively. Denver was picked to finish second in the Summit League this season, behind North Dakota State.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. has been Wyoming's go-to guy in the last two contests. He posted a career-high 25 points against South Dakota and has scored in double figures in a team-high seven games this season. His 13.3 points are second on the team, while his 9.0 rebounds pace the Pokes. Nance is complimented by junior guard Riley Grabau, who is one of the top shooters in the nation beyond the arc. His 62.8 three-point percentage leads the MW and ranks third nationally, as he leads the Cowboys at 13.9 points per game. Sophomore guard Josh Adams also scores in double figures for UW at 11.9 points, as he scored 12 against USD, and he adds 2.4 assists. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds versus the Coyotes for his fourth game in double-figure rebounds this season. His 8.3 boards are second on the team. Senior guard Nathan Sobey rounds out UW's probable starters at 7.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
Junior guard Brett Olson posted a game-high 24 points against Colorado State and added five assists, as he paces the Pioneers in points at 13.8 and assists at 3.7. Senior forward Chris Udofia contributes 15 points and nine rebounds. His 13.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game both rank second on the team. He also averages 3.3 blocks per contest. Sophomore guard Jalen Love rounds out DU's double-figure scorers at 10.0 points thanks to a team-high 14 treys. Junior guard Cam Griffin adds 9.5 points per game and a team-high 7.4 rebounds, while sophomore Dom Samac made his first start of the season against CSU. He averages 4.5 points per game.
About the Series
Wyoming owns a 101-49 advantage in the all-time series with Denver, but is 39-34 when visiting the Pioneers. Recent meetings have been very close, though, as each team owns five wins in the last 10 meetings between the two and the home team has won each of the last 11 games. The Pokes are seeking their first win at Denver since a 71-68 victory on Nov. 26, 2001.
The Pokes return home to host SMU on Dec. 20 at 7 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.