GAME NOTES: The only team in the Mountain West Conference with an overall record below .500, the Fresno State Bulldogs try to put the bite on Wyoming, as the league foes clash at Arena Auditorium on Saturday afternoon.
Not only is FSU seven games under .500 on the season overall, the team is all alone at the bottom of the MWC standings as well with just two wins in 10 chances. However, the team did throw a substantial scare into New Mexico earlier this week, leading by double figures at the break before falling by a 54-48 score at home. The defeat was the second in a row and the sixth in seven tries for the program.
As for the Cowboys, they were on the cusp of being nationally ranked just before the start of the conference schedule thanks to a 13-game win streak to begin 2012-13, but their fortunes have been thrown into reverse since. On Wednesday night the team did manage to crush Nevada in Laramie by a final of 68-48, but the win was just the third in 10 conference bouts and the second victory in the last seven outings overall.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series by a count of 10-6, thanks in part to a 59-48 win at home at the Save Mart Center last month.
The Bulldogs nearly stunned nationally-ranked New Mexico a few nights ago at the Save Mart Center, but that was before the hosts shot only 7-of-26 from the floor and failed to make a single trip to the free-throw line in the second half of the six-point decision. Kevin Olekaibe tallied 11 points and Kevin Foster sported a double-double off the bench with 10 points and a team-best 10 rebounds in the losing cause.
Tyler Johnson, who finished with seven rebounds, six points and five assists in the loss to New Mexico, continues to be the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with his 11.9 ppg, but the squad overall is generating a meager 59.6 ppg, one of the lowest averages in the nation. As a unit, the Bulldogs are shooting only 38.9 percent from the floor on the season, 37.5 percent against league opponents.
Defending their home floor admirably, the Cowboys shot an impressive 53.5 percent from the field, including 9-of-18 behind the 3-point line as Derrious Gilmore made three of his seven triples en route to 15 points. Leonard Washington stepped up his efforts in the paint with a double-double consisting of 16 points and 12 rebounds, adding five steals and three blocked shots, while Josh Adams tacked on 12 points for the hosts.
One of the top defensive squads in the nation this season, the Cowboys are holding league foes to just 56.8 ppg, but at the same time the offense for Wyoming is struggling to come up with 54.6 ppg. Gilmore (13.9 ppg) and Washington (13.4 ppg) are doing what they can to account for about half the unit's scoring production, but things would seem so much more promising if the Pokes could do better than only 61.9 percent at the free-throw line.
Expect a low-scoring affair again for these two squads, but still one that should favor the Cowboys, especially since they are at home this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 59, Fresno State 50
02/16 10:45:06 ET
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