FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: None. Home Record: South Dakota 0-0, Wyoming 2-0. Away Record: South Dakota 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Neutral Record: South Dakota 0-1, Wyoming 0-0. Conference Record: South Dakota 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 5-2.
GAME NOTES: Wyoming seeks a third straight win out of the gate as the Cowboys match up against the South Dakota Coyotes as part of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase at Arena-Auditorium.
The Cowboys began their season over the weekend with a 62-42 defeat of Western State and then continued the march with another double-digit win in the first round of action in this event on Wednesday, putting up a 73-60 triumph versus North Carolina Central as well.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes waited until yesterday to finally get the 2012-13 schedule off the ground and unfortunately it wasn't a positive outcome as the group bowed to Southern University, 83-79.
Wyoming leads the all-time series between the schools by a count of 5-2 entering play today. Both of these teams will again be back in action on Friday as the squads switch partners once more, with South Dakota getting NC Central and the Pokes going up against Southern.
Trailing by eight points at the break, the Coyotes turned up the pressure in the season half as they shot 58.3 percent from the floor, but it was too little, too late as the team suffered the season-opening loss in Laramie. Trevor Gruis led all scorers with 23 points as he shot 8-of-11 from the floor, but just 7-of-12 at the free-throw line. Gruis also collected a game-high nine rebounds and made a pair of steals in an effort to offset his four turnovers. Karim Rowson tacked on 19 points as he also went to the free-throw line 12 times, knocking down nine opportunities. South Dakota was handled on the glass by a 40-29 margin as it allowed Southern to rip down 14 boards at the offensive end of the floor. The team didn't do itself any favors by shooting just 5-of-19 from behind the three-point line or 20-of-31 at the charity stripe either.
A tight game in the first half, separated by just two points at the break, the Cowboys shot just 4-of-17 beyond the arc in the opening frame, yet still somehow made good on 47.1 percent from the floor overall. In the second half the Pokes dialed up the defense and limited NC Central to a mere 7-of-26 shooting from the floor, all while the offense converted 55.6 percent from the field in order to escape with the 13-point win. Leonard Washington led the way with a double-double consisting of 17 points and 10 rebounds, adding four assists and a pair of blocked shots for good measure. Luke Martinez accounted for a team-best 20 points, Derrious Gilmore 10 and Larry Nance Jr. 13 rebounds to give the group a 34-23 edge on the glass. Not much of a scorer in the early going, Nance is averaging 6.5 ppg, but is easily first with 11.0 rpg. Washington (16.5 ppg) is second in rebounding at the moment with 8.5 per contest, his five blocked shots nearly half the team's total of 11.
Enjoying the benefits of playing at home, the Cowboys will again have the crowd backing them today as they gun for a third win in a row.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 67, South Dakota 59
11/15 10:33:35 ET
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