Denver (3-5) at Wyoming (10-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 18, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 3-2, Wyoming 7-0. Away Record: Denver 0-3, Wyoming 3-0. Neutral Record: Denver 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Conference Record: Denver 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 100-49.
GAME NOTES: Continuing to fly under the radar despite a 10-0 mark to begin the 2012-13 campaign, the Wyoming Cowboys try to keep their unblemished record in tact on Tuesday night, as they welcome the Denver Pioneers to Arena Auditorium in Laramie for a non-conference showdown.
For the most part, the Cowboys have been playing head-and-shoulders above the competition this season, beating the majority of them by double figures. That was again true of their latest opponent, Oklahoma Panhandle State, which was defeated by a score of 74-55 now 10 days ago in Laramie. With that victory the Pokes moved to 7-0 in their own building.
As for the Pioneers, they've been able to produce just three total victories, but the majority of those have come in the last two outings. In addition to a 69-40 romp over Mercer back on Dec. 5, Denver also took care of Nebraska-Omaha over the weekend with a convincing 82-47 triumph at home.
According to Wyoming's records, the Cowboys own a commanding 100-49 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams.
Particularly in the first half, when they shot a staggering 68.0 percent from the floor, including 9-of-14 behind the 3-point line, the Pioneers had their way with Nebraska-Omaha and easily cruised to the 35-point win. Royce O'Neale not only led six players in double figures with 17 points, he also accounted for 10 rebounds and four assists for the hosts. Chase Hallam connected on 4- of-6 beyond the arc to come up with his 12 points, followed by Nate Engesser, Brett Olson and Chris Udofia with 11 points apiece, the latter handing out eight assists as well. Converting all but one of his six field goal attempts, Cam Griffin pitched in with 10 points off the bench. O'Neale, the leading scorer for the program in each of the last four outings, is now putting up 15.4 ppg and is also tops with 5.8 rpg and 16 steals. Udofia checks in with 12.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, just under four assists per game and 19 blocked shots as he continues to be one of the most diverse players in the Western Athletic Conference.
Many of the opponents on the early portion of the Wyoming schedule have not been all that challenging, and Oklahoma Panhandle State was another example of that back on Dec. 8 when the Cowboys ripped through the visitors by holding them to just 38.9 percent shooting from the floor. Except for Josh Adams who made only 1-of-6 from the floor and finished with three points, every starter scored in double figures for Wyoming, led by Derrious Gilmore who dropped in 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting behind the 3-point line. Leonard Washington logged a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Larry Nance Jr. and Luke Martinez with 13 and 12 points, respectively. In addition to having an easy schedule thus far, the other reason for Wyoming's success is that there are several players who, at any given time, can dial up the offense and be the leader at that end of the floor. In the last four games the team has had a different leading scorer each time out, but overall Washington (15.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg) has been the most productive.
With the defense holding opponents to just 55.3 ppg on 38.0 percent shooting from the floor, Wyoming has been doing just about everything right and the effort should continue on Tuesday as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 68, Denver 54
12/18 10:31:23 ET