Wyoming (9-4) at Nevada (6-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 6:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawlor Events Center (11,536) -- Reno, Nevada. Television: ROOT-RM. Home Record: Wyoming 8-1, Nevada 2-4. Away Record: Wyoming 0-3, Nevada 4-2. Neutral Record: Wyoming 1-0, Nevada 0-2. Conference Record: Wyoming 0-0, Nevada 1-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 10-1.
GAME NOTES: The Wyoming Cowboys seek their first true road win of the season today, as they open up Mountain West Conference play against the Nevada Wolf Pack at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
A near-perfect 8-1 in Laramie, the Cowboys have come up empty in their three games against foes on their home floors. The good news for the moment is that Wyoming is riding a two-game win streak heading into this meeting, thanks to a 69-52 pounding of Western State on New Year's Day.
In the case of the Wolf Pack, they haven't won back-to-back games since taking down Cal Poly and San Francisco during the first half of November. However, the team does have another opportunity to make it happen today given that it opened conference play on Wednesday with a 62-50 win over San Jose State. The victory was the second in the last two games for the program, but just the third overall in the last nine contests.
The Cowboys won all three meetings last season against Nevada, which means the all-time series now stands at 10-1.
Against a winless Western State squad, the Cowboys had little trouble landing in the win column yet again on Wednesday as Trey Washington III came off the bench to tally a career-high 24 points on 5-of-8 shooting behind the 3-point line and 8-of-11 from the floor overall. No one else on the roster scored in double figures, although that had more to do with Wyoming using reserves a bit earlier than usual than anything else. Defensively, Wyoming held the Mountaineers to just 36.4 percent shooting from the floor and forced 19 turnovers, while allowing only 16 field goals.
Larry Nance Jr., who tallied nine points in the win three days ago, continues to lead the Cowboys overall with his 16.3 ppg, thanks in large part to his 58.8 percent accuracy from the floor overall and not so much his meager 27.3 percent on the perimeter. Tops on the unit with 9.4 rpg and 19 blocked shots, clearly Nance is more of a force in the paint at both ends of the floor for a team that is holding the competition to only 60.9 ppg.
Nevada shot only 1-of-12 beyond the arc versus the Spartans in the conference opener, yet somehow the Pack still found a way to not only win on the road, but do so by double digits. Playing a total of just seven players, the Wolf Pack leaned on Deonte Burton as usual as he came up with 18 points, while AJ West checked in with 15 and nine rebounds. Cole Huff and Jerry Evans both dropped in eight points, the former clearing a game-high 10 rebounds as well.
Burton, a starter in all 112 career games he has played for Nevada, is pouring in 22.2 ppg which is quite an increase from his career mark of 15.8 ppg. In addition to his scoring, Burton is also responsible for a team-best 3.7 apg, 25 steals and is one of the better rebounders for Nevada with close to four boards per contest. Evans (14.8 ppg) is the top rebounder with 6.1 rpg, but that still doesn't excuse the fact that he has but nine assists in close to 400 minutes of playing time.
Burton and Evans are the ones who continue to drive the Nevada offense, but unless they can get adequate support it will be the Wyoming defense that steals the show today in Reno.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 68, Nevada 60
01/04 10:37:57 ET