GAME NOTES: The Wyoming Cowboys are set to host the Western Michigan Broncos in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational at the Arena- Auditorium on Monday.
This will be the first-ever meeting in history on the hardwood between these schools. The winner will find out its next opponent after the tournament is re-bracketed.
Steve Hawkins led the Broncos to the 2004 NCAA Tournament, the 2005 NIT and the 2011 CIT before guiding them to a thrilling, 72-71, overtime victory over North Dakota State in the opening round of the CBI. WMU finished in a tie for first place in the Mid-American Conference's West Division with Toledo at 10-6 and was the only team in the division to log at least 20 overall victories. The Broncos thumped Eastern Michigan during the MAC Tournament by 15 points but were then topped by Ohio University, 74-63 in the semifinals.
Against NDSU, Shayne Whittington led the way with 18 points, while Brandon Pokley added 15 points. David Brown scored 12 points and Connar Tava tallied 10 in the victory. Whittington notched his 11th double-double of the season in the regular-season finale, which is the most by a WMU player in a single season in over 10 years. Paul (10.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) had a decent campaign as well and serves as a dangerous second option. The Broncos finished sixth in the MAC in scoring (67.0) and third in scoring defense (63.4).
Nathan Sobey knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Wyoming to a 67-66 victory over Lehigh in its first-round game. Sobey finished with 12 points off the bench to help the Cowboys extend their home winning streak against non- conference foes to 23 in a row. Derrious Gilmore and Larry Nance Jr. led the way with 25 and 20 points, respectively.
The Cowboys were once one of the last undefeated teams left in the nation before they lost leading scorer Luke Martinez to an injury. Wyoming has failed to find the scoring needed to pull out wins on a consistent basis since, and it lost five in a row to end the regular season. It did manage to defeat Nevada in the Mountain West Conference Tournament before it was bounced by New Mexico. Wyoming nets just 60.6 ppg on 42.5 percent shooting from the field, but it holds its opposition to only 58.6 points per game to place first in the Mountain West and 23rd in the nation in scoring defense. The Cowboys also led the conference in turnover margin at +2.1, as their 11.2 turnovers per game rank 32nd nationally.
The Cowboys will need to get back to basics and put on a stifling defensive display as they do not have enough firepower to match WMU for 40 minutes. The Broncos like the pound it inside and should be able to do so as long as Whittington stays effective.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 68, Wyoming 66
03/25 10:30:52 ET
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