UW Men start second half of MW season at Boise State on Saturday

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 3.24.48 PMLaramie, Wyo. (Feb. 7, 2013) – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball will seek a measure of revenge on Saturday at Boise State. The Broncos (15-7, 3-5 MW) halted a 13-game winning streak for the Cowboys (16-6, 2-6 MW) on Jan. 9 in the first meeting between the two this season, and the Pokes have gone 3-5 since. BSU hit 11 a season-high 11 threes for a UW opponent, but the Cowboys have held six of their last eight opponents to three treys or less. Saturday’s matchup should be another close one between the high-scoring Bronco offense and stingy Cowboy defense. Tip is set for 6 p.m. MT in Taco Bell Arena.

Fans can follow live stats, live audio 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 stepped out of Mountain West play for a 61-53 win at CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday, as the Pokes completed an undefeated non-conference schedule during the regular season for the first time since 1987-88. The Cowboys led wire-to-wire, including by as many as 16 points in the second half, before the Roadrunners climbed within four late in the game. UW made its free throws to seal the win, though, and move to 16-6 overall. The Pokes are 2-6 in the MW for seventh in the conference standings. Wyoming will attempt to avenge a last-second loss to Boise State, as the Broncos halted UW’s 13-game winning streak with a 63-61 victory in Laramie on Jan. 9. BSU hit a season-high 11 threes for a UW opponent, including one at the buzzer, and the Pokes have gone 3-5 since. The Cowboys have cranked down on the defensive end since then, holding six of their last eight opponents to three threes or less. The Pokes entered the week ranked first in the MW and eighth in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing 55.2 points per game, but ranked ninth in the league in scoring offense at 62.2 points. Wyoming’s four lowest point totals of the season have all come in MW play. Its plus 2.4 turnover margin is second in the conference.

Head coach Leon Rice and the Broncos sit sixth in the MW standings at 3-5 in conference play and 15-7 overall. Like Wyoming, Boise State crafted an impressive non-conference record, but has faltered against tough MW opponents. In their most recent action, the Broncos lost a 63-62 game at No. 25 San Diego State on Wednesday. BSU erased a 17-point first-half deficit, but lost on a three by Chase Tapley with 2.8 seconds left. Boise State is 9-1 at home this season, as its one loss was in overtime, 79-74, to league-leading New Mexico. The Broncos sport one of the best offenses in the MW, leading the conference in points per game (75.2), three-point percentage (40.4) and free throw percentage (75.2). BSU also ranks second in field goal percentage (46.3) and threes per game (8.0). Defensively, Boise State allows opponents 65.8 points per game and ranks eighth in field goal defense (43.9) and seventh in three-point defense (33.7). BSU has a plus 4.8 rebounding margin and plus 1.9 turnover margin.

Each Team’s Leaders

Larry Nance Jr. was Wyoming’s top performer at CSU Bakersfield. The sophomore forward posted a team-high 17 points and 15 rebounds, as he averages 10.5 and 7.5, respectively, on the season. Senior forward Leonard Washington paces Wyoming at 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game with 17 double-figure scoring games and eight double-doubles. Senior Derrious Gilmore is a threat from deep at 11.8 points and 2.5 assists. He ranks third in the MW beyond the arc at 39 percent and fourth in threes per game at 2.2. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau’s team-high 2.7 assists per game are eighth in the MW, as he adds 5.8 points, while freshman guard Josh Adams contributes 6.1 points and 1.5 assists. UW’s bench has played well over the last two games, including a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds for sophomore forward Derek Cooke Jr. against CSU Bakersfield.

Sophomore guard Derrick Marks leads Boise State at 16.6 points and 3.5 assists per game, which rank fourth and fifth in the MW, respectively. Marks also leads the league in free throw percentage (85.8) and steals (2.1). Sophomore guard/forward Anthony Drmic adds 15.9 points and 4.6 rebounds, ranking second in the league in three-point percentage (40.6) and threes per game (2.5). Junior guard Jeff Elorriaga is the top three-point shooter in the MW at 47 percent beyond the arc and 3.1 threes per game. Those marks lead the league and rank sixth and 11th in the nation, respectively. Junior forward Ryan Watkins adds 9.4 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds. Redshirt freshman guard Michael Thompson contributes 9.2 points and 2.9 rebounds. Marks and Thompson both had 16 points at SDSU.

About the Series

The Pokes have a 10-6 advantage in the all-time series with Boise State, but are 3-4 in Boise. The Broncos broke UW’s three-game winning streak in the series with a 63-61 win in Laramie in the last meeting between the two programs. UW won 75-64 in Boise last season.

Up Next

Wyoming returns home to host Nevada at 7 p.m. MT on Wednesday.