LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team wraps up nonconference play for 2014-15 at Montana State on Tuesday. The Cowboys (10-2) seek their first road win of the season versus a Bobcats (3-8) squad that lost 70-61 in Laramie just eight days ago and is 3-1 at home this season. Tip is set for 7 p.m. MT in Worthington Arena.
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
Currently second in the Mountain West standings at 10-2, Wyoming reached double-figure wins with a 57-39 win over Southern on Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium, as the Cowboys held their eighth opponent this season to less than 50 points. The Pokes led the Jaguars by nine at halftime, before quickly pushing the advantage to double figures five minutes into the second half. That lead never dipped back into single digits and Wyoming extended it to as much as 18 with five minutes left in the half. Wyoming shot less than 50 percent in a win for the first time this season, hitting 44 percent (19-of-43) from the field and 31 percent (5-of-16) beyond the arc. The Pokes held the Jaguars to 33 percent (16-of-49) and 30 percent (3-of-10), respectively, while earning a 34-32 lead on the boards and 13-6 in assists. UW's 20 points in the paint were a season low, but the Cowboys held the Jaguars to just 10 points inside and three triples, a season low for a UW opponent. On the season, Wyoming averages 63.7 points per game on 51 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys rank first in the MW and eighth nationally in field-goal percentage, while their 16.3 assists per game are third in the conference and 30th in the nation. Defensively, the Pokes allow 49.8 points per game on 39 and 34 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is third in the NCAA, while its 13.7 fouls per game are fourth.
After their loss in Laramie, head coach Brian Fish and Montana State dropped a 55-53 game at South Dakota on Dec. 18 and, most recently, an 87-60 game at Portland on Saturday. The Bobcats started well, leading 16-14 with 11:29 to play in the first half, but a 12-2 Portland run gave the Pilots control of the game, which they would never relinquish. In fact, after a three-pointer, the Bobcats would never pull to within single digits. The Bobcats shot 37 percent from the floor to Portland's 55 percent, and the Pilots shot 50 percent from the arc. Portland outrebounded the Bobcats 31-26 and blocked eight MSU shots, forcing 14 Bobcat turnovers while giving the ball away just 10 times. On the season, Montana State averages 62.9 points per game on 39 percent from the field and 35 percent from deep, while allowing 72.5 points on 45 and 35 percent, respectively. The Bobcats are 73rd in the NCAA with 7.5 threes per game and 64th nationally in attempts. MSU hits 77 percent of its free throws, good for fifth in the NCAA. The Bobcats own a minus-0.4 rebounding maring and minus-3.8 turnover margin.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Josh Adams posted a season-high 16 points against Southern on Saturday, as he averages 9.9 points and a team-high 3.9 assists per game, which rank third in the MW. His 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio is second in the conference. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. contributed 14 points and a season-high eight rebounds versus Southern to notch his second-straight game with double-figure points. He leads the MW this season shooting 78 percent from the field. Fellow senior forward Larry Nance Jr. is the only Cowboy to average in double-figure points at 13.1 per contest. The MW Preseason Player of the Year also leads Wyoming at 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. adds 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assist per game. His 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio is sixth in the league. Redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen started in place of injured senior guard Riley Grabau against Southern, which broke a string of 66-straight starts for Grabau. McManamen made his second career start and scored seven points.
Junior guard Marcus Colbert paces the Bobcats at 11.7 points and 4.9 assists per game to go with 4.0 rebounds. He had a team-high 18 points and five assists in the two program's last meeting, as he ranks 50th in the NCAA in total assists. Senior guard Michael Dison also averages in double figures at 11.5 points per game, thanks in part to a team-high 35-made free throws. Junior forward Danny Robison posted a career-high 24 points against Portland and averages 9.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Junior forward Terrell Brown added 11 points against the Pilots after 14 and five rebounds versus Wyoming. He contributes 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, while senior center Blake Brumwell rounds out MSU's probable starters at 2.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Dison, Colbert and Robison have started all eight contests for MSU this season, but five other Bobcats have started in the two other spots.
About the Series
Wyoming owns a 42-11 advantage in the all-time series, but just a 6-6 mark in Bozeman as the vast majority of those meetings have been neutral-site contests. UW's last contest in Bozeman was Dec. 5, 1959, while its last win in the city was Dec. 3, 1954. In the last game between the two, the Cowboys earned a 70-61 victory in Laramie on Dec. 14. 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. Nance's 21 points paced the Cowboys, while Cooke tied a career best with 15 points to go with five rebounds and three blocks. The two helped UW outscore MSU, 32-20, in points in the paint. Grabau finished with 14 points, including two treys, while Adams had 10 points and a game-high five assists.
The Pokes start their 16th season of play in the Mountain West by hosting UNLV on New Year's Eve at 7 p.m. MT. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.