LARAMIE, Wyo. -
With finals week under its belt and five days of rest, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team welcomes Southern to the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT. The Cowboys (9-2) seek their 10th win of the young season against the Jaguars (3-8), who played Wyoming to a single-digit game in Laramie in 2012.
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 and televised by ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming sits at 9-2 overall on the season after a 70-61 win over Montana State last Sunday at home. The back-and-forth contest was tied, 53-53, with six minutes left, but the Cowboys held the Bobcats to just one field goal the rest of the game and crafted a 17-8 run to improve to 15-1 under head coach Larry Shyatt at home in December. The Cowboys shot 57 percent (21-of-37) from the field and have topped 50 percent in each of their nine wins this season, but Wyoming only made two of its seven three-point attempts. The Pokes made up for that with 77 percent (26-of-34) at the free throw line, season highs in attempts and makes. The Bobcats hung around thanks to a 27-26 advantage in rebounds, including 11-6 in offensive boards, but MSU committed 28 fouls to 15 for UW. The Bobcats shot 44 percent (23-of-52) from the field and 33 percent (6-of-18) beyond the arc for the game, but just 30 and 10 percent, respectively, in the second half. On the season, Wyoming averages 64.3 points per game on 51 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys rank first in the MW and seventh nationally in field-goal percentage, while their 16.6 assists per game are second in the conference and 26th in the nation. Defensively, the Pokes allow 50.8 points per game on 39 and 34 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is fourth in the NCAA, while its 13.7 fouls per game are fifth.
Southern and head coach Roman Banks won the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season title last season with a 15-3 overall mark in conference play, but return just two starters and six letterwinners from that squad. The Jaguars are 3-8 so far this season with all three victories coming at home. Road losses for SU include at Ole Miss, Tulane, Minnesota and Iowa State. Most recently, Southern won a 114-50 game over Champion Baptist College on Tuesday night. The Jaguars led 57-23 and added to that total with 57 more points in the second half by shooting 65 percent (47-of-73) from the field for the game and 4-of-8 beyond the arc. The Jaguars earned a 53-19 advantage in rebounds, 24-9 in assists and 7-0 in blocks against the Tigers, who are a member of the Association of Christian College Athletics. Overall, Southern averages 65.5 points on 43 percent from the field and 28 percent from deep, while allowing 69.2 points on 44 and 35 percent, respectively. The Jaguars grab 34.5 rebounds per game, but give up 14.0 turnovers. Southern ranks 51st in the nation with 80 total steals.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. posted his third 20-point game of the season with 21 points against Montana State last Sunday. The MW Preseason Player of the Year is the only Cowboy to average in double figures, as he leads Wyoming at 13.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. His 57 percent from the field ranks sixth in the MW and 51st in the nation. Fellow senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. tied a career high with 15 points versus the Bobcats and added three blocks. He averages 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting 79 percent from the field. Senior guard Riley Grabau added 14 points against MSU, including two threes. His team-high 19 treys this season have moved him into eighth on UW's career charts with 129 during his time in Brown and Gold. He averages 8.2 points and 1.9 assists. Junior guard Josh Adams contributes a team-high 4.0 assists per game, good for third in the MW, while senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. adds 3.3 assists. Both rank in the top six in the MW in assist-to-turnover ratio. Adams scores 9.4 points per game and Hankerson supplies 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Senior guard Tre Lynch leads Southern at 15.5 points per game to go with 2.5 assists, but he has only played in six games this season and has made no starts. He posted 20 points in 21 minutes against Champion Baptist. He has a team-high 13 threes and is shooting 35 percent beyond the arc. Junior guard Adrian Rogers add 11.5 points and 3.5 assists, while sophomore guard Trelun Banks also scores in double figures at 10.7 points and 2.4 assists per contest. Senior forward Keith Davis notched a game-high 22 points against Champion Baptist and averages 7.4 points and 1.2 blocks per game. Junior guard Christopher Hyder contributes a team-high 3.4 assists and is shooting 49 percent from the field, while freshman forward Jared Sam rounds out SU's probable starters at 4.8 points and a team-high 5.1 rebounds per game. Hyder and Banks are Southern's only players to start all 11 contest this season, with six other Jaguars earning at least one start.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Southern, 1-0, after a 67-60 win over the Jaguars on Nov. 16, 2012, in Laramie. The Pokes trailed by eight midway through the second half in that game, before Leonard Washington scored seven of UW's next nine points and the Cowboys clawed back to tie the contest at 56-56 with four minutes remaining. The Pokes would go on a 9-4 run down the stretch to seal the win. Washington paced four Cowboys in double figures with 17 points, while Larry Nance Jr. had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pokes conclude the nonconference portion of their 2014-15 schedule at Montana State on Tuesday. Wyoming earned a 70-61 victory over the Bobcats in Laramie last Sunday.