LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team wraps up the 2015 nonconference season by heading to Las Vegas for two neutral-site games in the Global Sports Classic. The Cowboys (7-4) face Marshall (3-7) on Monday at 8:30 p.m. MT, before battling Houston (8-1) or Grand Canyon (9-2) on Tuesday at 6 or 8:30 p.m. Both games will be played in Cox Pavilion. The Pokes have lost to Southern on Dec. 10 and beat Omaha last Saturday so far in the tournament.
Fans can follow live audio 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 has guided Wyoming to a 7-4 mark to start his sixth season at the helm. The Pokes are winners of two-straight, including most recently a 76-75 victory over Omaha last Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. Wyoming rebounded from a seven-point deficit by holding the Mavericks to just eight field goals in the final 10 minutes. On the season, Wyoming averages 70.6 points on 46 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep, while allowing 68.4 points on 42 and 33 percent, respectively. The Cowboys make 8.9 threes per game, which ranks third in the MW and 51st in the NCAA. Wyoming’s 11.3 turnovers per game this season lead the conference and are 48th in the nation, while its 16.6 fouls per game are first in the conference and 24th nationally.
Marshall is 3-7 in its second season under head coach Dan D’Antoni. The Thundering Herd started the season 0-6, before reeling off three-straight wins. Most recently, they had their winning streak snapped with an 86-68 loss to No. 20/16 West Virginia last Thursday in Charleston, W. Va. On the season, Marshall averages 76.7 points per game on 42 percent from the field and 28 percent beyond the arc, while allowing 83.2 points on 47 and 40 percent, respectively. The Thundering Herd own a minus 7.4 rebounding margin, but a plus 1.4 turnover margin. Marshall’s 289 threes attempted this season are 25th in the NCAA.
Houston’s second season under head coach Kelvin Sampson is off to an 8-1 start, including wins over Murray State and LSU. UH’s only loss was a 67-57 setback at Rhode Island. In their most recent action, the Cougars downed Eastern Illinois, 81-65, last Saturday at home to extend their winning streak to three games. Offensively, Houston averages 85.6 points per game on 49 percent from the field and 35 percent from three. On the defensive end, the Cougars allow 69.2 points on 43 and 28 percent, respectively. Houston is plus 6.2 in rebounding margin and plus 3.0 in turnover margin. The Cougars are 18th nationally in scoring offense, while their 96 total turnovers are the ninth fewest in the NCAA this season.
Grand Canyon has started its third season under head coach Dan Marjerle with a 9-2 record, including victories over Central Michigan and Southern. Most recently, the Antelopes earned a 52-45 upset of San Diego State last Friday in Viejas Arena to hand the Aztecs just their ninth loss in the last 107 games in the building. On the season, GCU averages 78.0 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 35 percent from deep. Defensively, the Antelopes allow 68.4 points on 41 and 31 percent, respectively. Grand Canyon has a plus 6.4 rebounding margin and plus 0.3 turnover margin.
Each Team’s Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams notched a game-high 31 points against Omaha, as his 25.2 points per game are first in the MW and fourth in the NCAA. He also paces the Pokes in assists at 4.1 per contest. Junior guard Jason McManamen is the only other Cowboy in double figures at 11.2 points per game, thanks in part to a team-high 43 percent beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon leads Wyoming on the boards at 5.5 rebounds per game.
Marshall has five players average in double figures, led by junior forward Ryan Taylor at 16.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He had a team-high 15 points, six rebounds and three assists against West Virginia. Senior forward James Kelly adds 15.9 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest. Kelley notched 11 points versus the Mountaineers. Junior guard Stevie Browning is MU’s top assist man at 4.4 per game.
Houston’s top scorer is sophomore guard Rob Gray Jr. at 18.9 points per game, but he comes off the bench and plays just 24.0 minutes per game. Three other Cougars also average in double-figure points. Junior guard Damyean Dotson adds 12.3 points to go with a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. He notched 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals against Eastern Illinois. Freshman guard Galen Robinson Jr. is the top assist man at 3.6 per contest. Redshirt junior guard Ronnie Johnson had a game-high 25 points versus Eastern Illinois and averages 14.0 per game.
Redshirt sophomore guard Joshua Braun paces three Grand Canyon players in double figures at 14.9 points per game, as he shoots a team-high 45 percent beyond the arc. Former Cowboy Keonta Vernon paced the Antelopes versus the Aztecs with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He’s started the last two games and has a double-double in each. Graduate student forward Grandy Glaze paces GCU on the boards at 7.3 rebounds per contest and adds 13.3 points, while senior guard DeWayne Russell is the Antelopes’ top assist man at 5.9 per game.
About the Series
The Pokes are 2-1 all-time against Marshall, but are meeting the Thundering Herd for the first time since 1992. Likewise, the Cowboys are 2-2 in the all-time series with Houston, but have not played the Cougars since 1993. A meeting with Grand Canyon would be Wyoming’s first.
Wyoming opens Mountain West play at San Diego State on Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. MT.