Dec. 20, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team concludes the 2012 calendar year on Friday when the Cowboys host UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The 11-0 Pokes seek to match the best start in program history with a victory, while the 4-6 Gauchos attempt to avenge a 68-40 home loss to UW in late November.
Friday is Holiday Family Night, as fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four Pepsi's and a 10 percent discount at the Brown `N Gold Outlet for just $48. Santa Clause will be available for photos prior to the game and prizes will be raffled off throughout the game. Promotion must be purchased prior to the game and is not available at the gate.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at GoWYO.com. Fans can follow live stats and live video of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming has earned some national attention with its 11-0 start to the season, its best since beginning the 1987-88 campaign with the same mark and just one win short of its best start ever. The Pokes are receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls for the first time since 2003. In their latest action, the Pokes earned a hard-fought 71-61 win over Denver on Tuesday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys led the Pioneers by six at halftime and extended the lead to as many as 13 points with four minutes left, before Denver made a late push to climb within six points with 1:20 to go. UW would hold on down the stretch, though, as the Pokes scored 70 or more for the sixth time this season. Defensively, the Cowboys lead the Mountain West in scoring defense by allowing 55.8 points per game, rank third in field goal percentage defense at 39.2 and third in rebounding defense at 29.0. The Cowboys are third in three-point makes at 7.5 per game and second in field-goal percentage at 46.8. UW's plus 3.2 turnover margin and plus 14.6 scoring margin are both fourth in the MW.
Head coach Bob Williams and UC Santa Barbara have started the 2012-13 campaign with a 4-6 record, including 3-1 at home and 1-5 on the road. Four of UCSB's five losses on the road have come by double digits, while its one win was in overtime. In their latest action, the Gauchos lost a 68-59 game at California on Tuesday. UCSB equaled its season-high with 13 threes, but Cal was too strong inside and held off a late Gaucho rally to win. The Gauchos shoot 41 percent from the field and 36 percent beyond the arc to average 66.7 points per game, but allow opponents 70.8 points on 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively. UCSB has a plus 0.8 rebounding margin, averaging 35.9 rebounds per game, but a minus 2.6 turnover margin, committing 15.2 turnovers per game.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Leonard Washington and senior guard Luke Martinez pace the way for the Cowboys at 14.5 points per game each. Washington adds 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, as he is one of three MW players to rank in the top 10 of the conference in points, rebounds and blocks. Martinez hits a MW-high 3.0 threes per game and adds 1.9 steals on the defensive end. Fellow senior guard Derrious Gilmore contributes 13.0 points and 2.9 assists from the point, while sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. rounds out UW's double-figure scorers at 11.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Josh Adams has started the last three games in place of injured sophomore guard Riley Grabau. Adams posts 5.5 points per game, while Grabau played limited minutes on Tuesday in his return. Martinez posted a career-high 25 points and Nance added a career-high 21 against Denver, while Gilmore had 12 points and three assists.
Sophomore forward Alan Williams is the top Gaucho at 16.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, as he is a team-high 43-of-59 at the free throw line. Freshman forward Taran Brown, a product of Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyo., contributes 13.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and a team-high 11 steals. Senior guard Nate Garth posts a team-high 4.2 assists per game to go with 5.6 points and 2.5 rebounds. Williams, Brown and Garth are the only Gauchos to start all 10 games this season. Sophomore guard/forward Lewis Thomas and freshman guard Michael Bryson round out UCSB's probable starters at 3.6 points and 4.3 rebounds and 5.4 points and 2.9 rebounds, respectively. Junior guard Kyle Boswell scored a team-high 12 points off the bench on Tuesday against California, while Garth and Brown added 11 points each. Williams had 12 rebounds.
About the Series
The Pokes lead the all-time series with the Gauchos 3-2, after a 68-40 win at Santa Barbara on Nov. 28. Luke Martinez paced three Cowboys in double figures that night with 17 points, as Wyoming led by 13 at halftime and outscored UCSB 30-19 in the second half. The home team has won four of the five meetings between the two programs, and UW owns a 2-0 mark against the Gauchos in Laramie.
Wyoming starts 2013 at SMU on Jan. 2 at 6 p.m. MT.