Wyoming (4-0) at Northern Colorado (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,734) -- Greeley, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: Wyoming 4-0, UNC 1-0. Away Record: Wyoming 0-0, UNC 0-1. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: Wyoming 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 51-19.
GAME NOTES: Off to their best start since 2008-09, the Wyoming Cowboys try to run their win streak to five in a row on Wednesday as they pay a visit to the Northern Colorado Bears for a non-conference meeting at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
For the first three games of this season, the Cowboys enjoyed winning margins of at least double figures versus the likes of Western State, North Carolina Central and South Dakota, but against Southern University last Friday the team had to settle for a 67-60 victory as it closed out a four-game homestand by participating in the Global Sports Hoops Showcase.
As for the Bears, they've only played half the number of games as the Pokes and in their case have earned a split in those decisions. UNC opened up with a resounding 127-81 beating of Southwest (NM), setting a new scoring record for the team while participating at the Division I level. Unfortunately, while that scoring outburst will go a long way in buoying the program's stats for the next month or so, it did little to help with the loss to Cal Poly last week, 64-53, on the road.
The Cowboys lead the all-time series by a count of 51-19, taking all but one of the last 10 encounters. Wyoming has posted 19 wins in 31 tries in Greeley over the years, although it was the Bears who won here two years ago by a score of 67-53.
Four of five starters scored in double figures for the Pokes against Southern in the last outing, with Leonard Washington leading the way with his 17 points, although he missed all four of his three-point tries and was just 4- of-13 from the field overall. Derrious Gilmore and Larry Nance Jr. added 12 points apiece, the latter also clearing a game-best 12 rebounds, followed by Luke Martinez with 11 points. Wyoming outscored the visitors at the free-throw line by a 20-6 margin, thanks to Washington who knocked down all but two of his 11 chances. Although he has some lofty expectations to live up to, set by his father who spent 13 years in the NBA, Nance has started off rather strong for the Cowboys with 9.3 ppg and a team-high 10.0 rpg. If nothing else, Nance will help ease the burden placed upon Washington who is tops on the team in scoring with 16.8 ppg and is second on the glass (9.0 rpg). Luke Martinez, already 15-of-31 from three-point range, checks in with 14.5 ppg as well.
In the opener the Bears, who finished as the nation's top three-point shooting team last season, connected on 11-of-20 from beyond the arc and a staggering 71.2 percent from the floor overall, but that wasn't nearly the case for the squad in the most recent game against Cal Poly. Against the Mustangs, UNC made good on a mere 3-of-18 on the perimeter and 42.3 percent from the floor, not to mention a woeful 6-of-13 at the free-throw line, so landing in the win column just wasn't in the cards. Although he missed all three of his attempts on the outside, Tevin Svihovec emerged as the lone double-digit scorer for the program against Cal Poly with 14 points. Derrick Barden added nine rebounds to lead in that department. Thanks to their strong showings in the opener, Tim Huskisson and Connor Osborne lead the group in scoring with 12.5 ppg and 11.5 ppg, respectively, with both shooting better than 66 percent from the floor in the early going.
As long as the Cowboys can play tight defense out on the perimeter and allow both Nance and Washington to control the action in the paint, this is a meeting that should fall in favor of the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 75, Northern Colorado 66
11/21 10:32:56 ET