Pokes Prepare for Border War

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*Courtesy University of Wyoming Athletics Media and Public Relations

LARAMIE, Wyo. (Feb. 20, 2014) – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team will meet Colorado State for the 220th time on the hardwood Saturday when the Cowboys travel to Moby Arena to face the Rams at 4 p.m. MT. The Cowboys (17-9, 8-5 MW) own a three-game winning streak, but will be playing without the services of junior forward Larry Nance Jr. after he suffered a season-ending torn ACL on Tuesday. The Rams (14-13, 5-9 MW) are 12-6 at home this season and are one of the best teams in the nation at taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers.

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 and televised by ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.

A Look at the Matchup

Wyoming moved into a tied for third in the Mountain West standings at 8-5 in the conference and 17-9 overall after a 72-66 win over Fresno State on Tuesday. The Pokes led by two at halftime and extended it to as many as nine points at 40-31 early in the second half, but Bulldogs used a quick 9-0 spurt to tie the contest at 40-40 with 12 minutes remaining. Wyoming collected itself with a 10-3 run of its own to go back in front and built the advantage back to nine at 56-47 with five minutes left. FSU would make one final push to cut the lead to three at 58-55 with 2:30 to go, but the Pokes made free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Wyoming shot 43 percent (19-of-44) from the field, but tied a season low with just one made three on nine attempts for 11 percent. UW’s 33 made free throws were a season high, while its 44 attempts were a season high. FSU’s 31 fouls were the most committed against Wyoming this season. The Cowboys outrebounded an opponent for the first time in MW play with a 35-34 advantage on the boards. For the season, Wyoming’s 49 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 13th in the nation, while its 37 percent from deep is third and 65.4 points per game are 10th. UW’s 73 percent at the free throw line is fifth. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 12th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 59.8 points per game and fourth in the league in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent. UW’s 31 percent three-point defense is third in the conference and 41st in the nation.

Head coach Larry Eustachy and Colorado State are tied for eighth in the conference standings at 5-9 in MW play and 14-13 overall. The Rams have lost three-straight games, but own a 12-6 overall mark at home this season. Most recently, CSU lost an 84-72 home contest to Boise State on Tuesday. The Rams led by as much as six points in the first half, but a 12-0 run by the Broncos put Boise State ahead for good at 31-25 with 5:41 left in the first half. CSU got as close as four points in the second half, but couldn’t manage to get enough stops to counter Boise State’s hot shooting from the outside. In the end, Boise State shot a blistering 55 percent (29-of-53) from the field, including 13-of-22 (59 percent) from the three-point line and a perfect 13-of-13 at the free throw line. On the season, Colorado State’s 73.1 points per game are fourth in the MW, while its 43 percent from the field and 32 percent from deep are both 10th. The Rams make just 5.1 threes per game, last in the MW. Defensively, CSU allows 69.0 points for seventh, while allowing opponents to shoot 33 percent from the field for ninth and 36 percent beyond the arc for 11th. CSU’s plus 5.0 rebounding margin is fifth in the MW. The Rams take care of the ball, as their 9.3 turnovers per game lead the conference and rank fifth in the NCAA. They have committed the seventh fewest turnovers in the nation this season. CSU ranks 10th and 11th in the nation in free throws made and attempted this season.

Each Team’s Leaders

Wyoming will be without its leader in points, rebounds, blocks and steals for the rest of 2013-14 after junior forward Larry Nance Jr. suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Tuesday’s win over Fresno State. Nance was averaging 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per game to rank in the top 10 of the MW stats in each. Junior guard Riley Grabau is the reigning conference player of the week, but managed just eight points against the Bulldogs. He scores 11.5 points and adds 2.1 assists per game, while shooting 47 percent beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Josh Adams is UW’s other scorer in double figures at 11.3 points. He adds a team-high 2.9 assists and scored 10 points against FSU for his 15th game in double figures this season. Senior guard Nathan Sobey notched a career-high 26 points versus Fresno, as he averages 8.0 points and 2.0 assists. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. grabbed a team-high eight rebounds against FSU and averages 5.5 on the season. He adds 5.4 points per contest.

Redshirt junior forward J.J. Avila’s 16.8 points per game lead Colorado State and rank sixth in the MW, but he is followed closely by redshirt junior guard Daniel Bejarano at 16.4 points for seventh. Bejarano’s 8.3 rebounds are seventh in the league, while Avila’s 7.6 are ninth. The two also rank in the MW’s top 10 in assists, offensive rebounds and minutes. Avila leads CSU at 3.4 assists per game and Bejarano in steals at 1.2. Bejarano scored 23 points against Boise State, while Avila added 13 points and eight assists. Redshirt junior guard Jon Octeus also scores in double figures at 12.8 points, thanks in part to a team-high 126 made free throws. Sophomore guard Joe De Ciman adds 8.2 points per contest and senior forward Gerson Santo rounds out CSU’s probable starters at 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

About the Series

Saturday will be the 220th meeting between Wyoming and Colorado State, as the Cowboys own a 128-91 advantage in the all-time series with Colorado State, including a 51-54 mark in Fort Collins. The Rams have won seven of the last eight meetings, though, including the last three. In their last meeting, CSU earned a 78-56 victory in Moby Arena on March 6, 2013.

Up Next

The Cowboys return home to host Air Force on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.