LARAMIE, Wyo. -
It'll be a high-noon showdown on Saturday when the University of Wyoming men's basketball team hosts Omaha in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (6-4) play their second game in the Global Sports Classic by welcoming the Mavericks (6-5) and their high-powered offense. Wyoming then travels to Las Vegas for the final two games of the tournament on Monday and Tuesday in Cox Pavilion.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com. 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.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and the Cowboys improved to 6-4 on the season with an impressive 62-59 win at New Mexico State last Sunday, as Wyoming handed the Aggies jut their sixth loss in the Pan American Center since the start of the 2012-13 season. The Pokes outscored NMSU 26-9 through the first nine minutes of the second half to build a 15-point lead at 48-33. The Aggies would respond with a 20-6 run of their own to tie the game at 53 with 1:54 left. Two-straight UW buckets broke the tie, before the Pokes hit free throws with 14 and six seconds left to seal the game. Wyoming shot 45 percent (21-of-47) from the field and 44 percent (7-of-16) beyond the arc, while holding the Aggies to 35 percent (21-of-60) and 14 percent (2-of-14), respectively. The Pokes were outrebounded 45-27, but had two less turnovers and four less fouls. On the season, Wyoming averages 70.0 points on 46 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep, while allowing 67.7 points on 42 and 32 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 9.0 threes per game, which ranks third in the MW and 48th in the NCAA. Wyoming's 11.1 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and are 40th in the nation, while its 16.0 fouls per game are first in the conference and 12th nationally.
Head coach Derrin Hansen and Omaha are 6-5 on the season, including 3-3 on the road. The Mavericks have played at some quality opponents, including a five-point loss at Colorado, a three-point loss at Minnesota, a 20-point win at Northern Colorado and a three-point win at Montana State. Omaha started Global Sports Classic play with a 108-104 overtime win at Grand Canyon last Sunday. Most recently, the Mavericks earned an 81-71 win over Simpson last Wednesday. The Mavericks drained all 10 of their first 10 shots from the floor to build a 51-25 lead by the break. The Storm responded with 10 threes in the second half for 46 points in the period, but it wasn't enough to overcome Omaha's lead. The Mavericks shot 41 percent (30-of-73) from the floor, 29 percent (7-of-24) from three and 56 percent (14-of-25) at the line. Simpson finished at 40 percent (27-of-67) from the field, 38 percent (15-of-39) from long range and 100 percent (2-of-2) at the stripe. The Mavericks outrebounded the Storm 56-33. Overall, Omaha scores 88.6 points per game on 46 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep, while allowing 82.6 points on 42 and 36 percent, respectively. For such a high average the Mavericks only make 6.4 threes per game, but average 20.7 made free throws per contest. They are sixth in the NCAA in scoring offense, third in free throw attempts and second in free throws made. Omaha has a plus 1.8 rebounding margin and a plus 2.0 turnover margin.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams posted a game-high 22 points against the Aggies to continue his scoring barrage this season. His 24.6 points per game are first in the MW and fifth in the nation, while his 3.1 threes per game are first and 35th, respectively. He also adds 4.8 rebounds and a team-high 4.2 assists per game. Freshman guard Justin James made quite an impression at NMSU as well, though. He notched career highs of 13 points in 30 minutes and now averages 7.7 points and 2.4 rebounds on the season. Junior guard Jason McManamen added 15 points versus the Aggies, just one shy of his career high, and is Wyoming's other scorer in double figures at 11.2 points per contest. He shoots a team-high 42 percent beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon is the top Cowboy on the boards at 5.3 rebounds per game to go with 7.0 points and 1.2 blocks. Fellow sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes rounds out UW's probable starters at 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
Omaha is paced by senior guard Devin Patterson at 16.2 points per game, which includes a team-high 20 made threes, as he is one of four Mavericks to score in double figures. Senior forward Jake White adds 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He also shoots a team-high 60 percent from the field. White had a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds against Simpson for his fourth double-double of the season. Sophomore forward Tre'Shawn Thurman added 10 points and a team-leading 14 boards versus the Storm to averaged 14.5 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Tra-Deon Hollins rounds out Omaha's double-figure scorers at 10.1 points and a team-high 5.8 assists per game for 32nd in the nation. Defensively, he earns 4.0 steals per game, which leads the NCAA. Freshman guard Zach Jackson is Omaha's other probable starter at 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest.
About the Series
The Cowboys won their only meeting with the Mavericks, a 68-65 victory in Omaha on Dec. 21, 1956. The game was the first of an extended road trip for the Pokes, as they lost the following night at No. 14 Iowa State, 85-57, before facing Northwestern and Boston on Dec. 28 and 29 in Detroit.
Wyoming plays Marshall on Monday at 8:30 p.m. MT in Las Vegas, before facing Houston or Grand Canyon on Tuesday at 6 or 8:30 depending on a win or loss in the first game.