Dec. 22, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy basketball team will take on Northern Iowa, the defending Missouri Valley Conference Champions, this Wednesday night in the final game of the inaugural Mountain West/MVC Challenge in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. (Mountain Time) from UNI's McLeod Center. The game can be heard on the 25 affiliate radio stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, with the pregame show beginning at 5:30 p.m. (MT).
Wednesday's game will mark the final non-conference road game of the season for the Cowboys. After winning four of their last five games, the Pokes will enter Wednesday's game with a 6-5 overall record. UNI is currently 8-1 overall and has won seven straight games. They received votes in both top-25 polls this week and are currently ranked No. 3 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Northern Iowa 3-0. The Pokes picked up a big win over the Panthers last season, 74-65, in Casper, Wyo. UW won its only previous trip to Cedar Falls, 60-55, during the 1991-92 season.
Wednesday's game will mark the final game of the inaugural MWC/MVC Challenge. The Missouri Valley currently leads the challenge 4-3, with one other game scheduled for Tuesday night between San Diego State and Drake.
Two areas continue to stand out for the Cowboys this season--free throws and forced turnovers. The Pokes currently lead the nation in made free throws (267), rank third in attempts (358) and No. 31 in free-throw percentage (74.6). The Cowboys have also excelled at forcing their opponents to turn the ball over. In fact, the Pokes are turning their opponents over at a rate of 19.0 per game. With those forced turnovers, UW ranks No. 15 in the nation in steals per game (10.1).
Wyoming is led by four players who are averaging double-figures. Sophomore Afam Muojeke, who has scored 15 or more points in seven of eight games this season, leads the Pokes with 16.8 points per game. Following Muojeke is sophomore A.J. Davis (12.0), junior Djibril Thiam (11.5) and sophomore Adam Waddell (10.9).
Northern Iowa returns five starters and nine letterwinners from a very successful 2008-09 team. After falling to the Pokes in Casper, UNI won 18 of their next 24 en route to a MVC Tournament Title and Co-Regular Season Championship. The Panthers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they gave Purdue all they could handle before eventually falling to the Boilermakers 61-56. UNI closed out the year 23-11.
This season, UNI is led by three players who are averaging double-figures. Junior guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe (14.4) leads the way and is followed by senior forward Adam Koch (14.1) and senior center Jordan Eglseder (11.1). Eglseder leads the Panthers in rebounding with 7.9 per contest.
After returning from Cedar Falls, the Cowboys will begin a four-game homestand on Dec. 30. They will open the stretch by hosting Akron that Wednesday night at 7 p.m.