LARAMIE, Wyo. (Dec. 30, 2013) – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team starts 2014 by hosting Western State on New Year’s Day at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (8-4) will look to make final adjustments before beginning the Mountain West season on Saturday, while the Mountaineers (0-9) feature senior guard Jordan Adams, the older brother of UW sophomore guard Josh Adams.
All tickets to Wednesday’s game will be half price and can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com. 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 also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming improved to 8-4 on the season with a dominant 72-59 win over Northern Colorado in the Arena-Auditorium on Dec. 22. Against the Bears, the Cowboys trailed at halftime, but used an 18-2 run late in the second half to earn the victory. The Pokes connected on 69 percent from the field, including 84 percent and 4-of-4 beyond the arc in the second half, for their best shooting performance in a game since 2003. After trailing the whole first half, the Pokes took an early lead in the second half and exchanged the lead with the Bears nine times over the next 11 minutes. UW took the lead with a dunk at the 8:30 mark and would never relinquish it. The Pokes hit 25 of their 36 shots for their best shooting percentage since notching 72 percent (39-of-54) against Tennessee State on Dec. 17, 2003 and added 50 percent (6-of-12) from three. UNC connected on 37 percent (23-of-62) and 22 percent (4-of-18), respectively. Wyoming earned a 31-36 advantage in rebounds, 17-6 in assists and 7-0 in blocks. UW’s seven blocks were a season high, while its 17 assists were its second most. For the season, Wyoming’s 49.4 percent from the field leads the Mountain West, while its 38.3 percent from deep is fourth and 68.8 points per game are 11th. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW in scoring defense at 61.7 points per game and third in field goal percentage defense at 39.2. UW’s 29.6 three-point defense is fifth.
Head coach Mike Moskowitz and NCAA Division II Western State are 0-9 overall and 0-6 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference so far in 2013-14. The Mountaineers have played two contests to double overtime, though. Most recently, Western State lost home contests to Adams State and Fort Lewis on Dec. 20 and 21, respectively. Fort Lewis shot 61.8 percent from beyond the arc, making 21 three-pointers en route to the 120-78 victory. Fort Lewis had 11 players make a three-pointer, as the Skyhawks did most of their damage from behind the three-point line. Western State had two players score in double figures. For the season, the Mountaineers average 69.4 points on 39 percent from the field and 28 percent beyond the arc. WSU allows opponents 90.6 points on 49 and 40 percent, respectively.
Each Team’s Leaders
Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. continued his torrid pace to the 2013-14 season with 29 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks against Northern Colorado on Dec. 22. He has scored 20 or more in three of Wyoming’s last four games. His 16.9 points and 9.9 rebounds on the season are seventh and third, respectively, in the Mountain West, while his 59 percent from the field leads the league. Junior guard Riley Grabau continues to shoot well beyond the arc. His 57 percent ranks first in the MW and second in the nation, as he scores 12.1 points per game and dishes out a team-high 2.6 assists. He scored 10 points and tied a career high with six assists against UNC. Sophomore guard Josh Adams contributes 11.3 points and 2.3 assists per game, including 16 points against the Bears, and will face off with his brother, Jordan, on Wednesday. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.’s 7.1 rebounds are second on the team and 10th in the MW, while senior guard Nathan Sobey rounds out UW’s probable starters at 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Three Mountaineers score in double figures, led by senior guard Jordan Adams at 14.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He scored a team-high 15 points against Fort Lewis. He is the only WSU player with more than 100 field goal attempts on the season and has connected on a team-high 47 attempts. Junior guard Mason Biddle contributes 13.4 points per game to go with a team-high 4.3 assists. Junior guard/forward Dominique Wright rounds out WSU’s double-figure scorers at 10.0 points and a team-high 4.0 rebounds per game. Senior guard Jake Braddy adds 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds, while senior forward/center Jon Cooke rounds out WSU’s probable starters at 3.3 points and 3.9 rebounds.
About the Series
Wyoming owns a 26-2 advantage in the all-time series with Western State, including an 18-2 mark in Laramie. The Cowboys are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with the Mountaineers and currently own a six-game winning streak. All six of those wins have come by at least 20 points.
The Cowboys start the Mountain West portion of their 2013-14 schedule at Nevada on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports.
2013-14 Media Guide: