Wyoming (15-5) at Colorado State (17-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moby Arena (8,745) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: ROOT. Home Record: Wyoming 10-3, CSU 12-0. Away Record: Wyoming 5-2, CSU 3-4. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, CSU 2-0. Conference Record: Wyoming 2-5, CSU 4-2. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 128-89.
GAME NOTES: The Border War is set to heat up again on Saturday evening, as the Colorado State Rams and Wyoming Cowboys get together for a Mountain West Conference showdown at Moby Arena in Fort Collins.
In a relationship that dates back to 1911, these two teams have met a total of 217 times already according to Wyoming sources, with the Cowboys owning a 128-89 edge over CSU. However, the Rams have won five of the last six matchups, including a 54-46 decision in this same building last season.
With regard to this season, the Rams find themselves in a four-way tie for second place in the MWC standings with San Diego State, UNLV and Air Force heading into the weekend, winning four of six league bouts. On Wednesday night, Colorado State posted a 77-57 victory over visiting Boise State, the second straight win and the fourth in the last five games for the program, not to mention their 25th straight at home as well.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are finding life without Luke Martinez to be extremely difficult. The team's leading scorer with 14.5 ppg broke a finger during a bar fight in December so he's not only injured, he has been suspended for his involvement in that episode as well. With Martinez out of the picture, the Pokes have gone from winning 13 straight games out of the chute, to bowing in three in a row and four of the last five after falling to nationally-ranked New Mexico earlier this week, 63-59.
Now just 2-5 in league play, Wyoming is second-to-last in the conference standings, ahead of only Fresno State which is a mere 1-6.
Wyoming led by a point at the break against 20th-ranked New Mexico the other night, but the Pokes then allowed the visitors to connect on 53.8 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes in order to steal away the win at Arena Auditorium. Derrious Gilmore accounted for 15 points, hitting 5-of-7 beyond the arc as the team converted an impressive 12-of-22 on the outside, but still that wasn't good enough. Leonard Washington and Riley Grabau both tallied 11 points for the hosts as they shot a collective 40.8 percent from the field. Still one of the most suffocating teams at the defensive end of the floor this season, the Cowboys are holding opponents to just 54.8 ppg, but while the unit had been scoring 63.0 ppg overall, in conference play that effort shrinks to just 53.0 ppg and that has become a problem. Washington (13.0 ppg) and Gilmore (10.3 ppg) are the only active double-digit scorer for the group.
Against Boise State the Rams shot only 6-of-22 from 3-point range and 19-of-35 at the free-throw line, but even those weak efforts were not enough to keep the home team from continuing their streak in Fort Collins. Pierce Hornung was the leader in both scoring and rebounding with 23 and 13, respectively, connecting on all three of his long distance tries, which means the rest of the team was only 3-of-20. Dorian Green added 12 points and Wes Eikmeier another 10, although the latter was just 1-of-7 on the outside and 2-of-10 from the floor overall. Hornung has been rather quite in terms of scoring this season, averaging only 10.0 ppg, but his efforts on the glass are still huge as he paces the group with 9.7 rpg. Colton Iverson (14.0 ppg) is also a big presence in the paint with 9.4 rpg and because of those two the Rams are one of the more dominant rebounding teams in the country with a margin of almost 14 rebounds per outing.
Even though the Cowboys are still tough at the defensive end of the floor, without Martinez they are missing a major piece of the puzzle on the other end, and that's more than enough to allow Colorado State to run away with a victory this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 67, Wyoming 49
02/02 10:33:17 ET