SMU (9-2) at Wyoming (7-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 20, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: ROOT-RM. Home Record: SMU 6-0, Wyoming 6-0. Away Record: SMU 1-1, Wyoming 0-3. Neutral Record: SMU 2-1, Wyoming 1-0. Conference Record: SMU 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: The Wyoming Cowboys hope to remain undefeated at home, as they host the SMU Mustangs in non-conference action at Arena Auditorium on Friday night.
The Cowboys, a perfect 6-0 in their own building this season, are back home for the first time since Dec. 2 when they defeated Black Hills State, 79-65. Last Sunday, the squad had a three-game win streak come to an end when it stumbled late against Denver at Magness Arena, 64-61.
As for the Mustangs, they too are 6-0 at home in 2013-14, but in true road games they are just 1-1. Under the direction of famed head coach Larry Brown, SMU, which has been playing home games at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas while Moody Coliseum is being renovated, captured an 82-56 win over Texas-Pan American in the facility on Wednesday night to runs it current win streak to four in a row.
In terms of the all-time series, the Cowboys lead by a count of 4-2, the most recent win coming last season in a 59-56 final.
The Mustangs could do little wrong against Texas-Pan American the last time out, shooting an impressive 56.6 percent from the floor and 7-of-15 behind the 3-point line, while also holding the visitors to a mere 32.3 percent from the field and 6-of-28 (.214) on the perimeter. However, one area that did slow down SMU was at the free-throw line where the squad converted just 15-of-32 opportunities. Markus Kennedy played just 21 minutes off the bench, but that was long enough for him to connect on 7-of-8 from the floor to come up with 17 points, to go along with seven rebounds. Ryan Manuel and Nic Moore contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively. Nick Russell chipped in with six points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Despite having just two players scoring in double figures, Moore (14.1 ppg) and Yanick Moreira (10.5 ppg) , the Mustangs are good for an impressive 76.0 ppg on the campaign as the group shoots 51.4 percent from the floor and 41.8 percent behind the 3-point line. Moore, who has made good on a sensational 57.1 percent beyond the arc, is also responsible for a team-high 51 assists, against just 25 turnovers. Defensively, the Mustangs are limiting the opponents to only 35.7 percent from the field and 32.6 percent behind the 3- point line, en route to 61.7 ppg.
Larry Nance Jr. scored a career-high 38 points and also cleared a season-best 12 rebounds for the Cowboys on Sunday, but even that was not enough to push the Pokes over Denver. The scoring burst by Nance was the most for a Wyoming player since 2005. The forward finished the meeting 15-of-21 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 at the free-throw line as the only player in double figures for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, the team made good on just one of 10 shots behind the 3-point line in the meeting, compared to six triples for the Pioneers.
Nance, a 57.6 percent shooter from the floor, leads the program in both scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg) through 10 games. Riley Grabau, who is playing more than 35 minutes per contest, is putting up 13.0 ppg and leads the team with 25 assists. More importantly, Grabau gives Wyoming a huge presence on the perimeter where he has knocked down a stellar 28-of-45 (.622), contributing heavily to the unit's 39.2 percent effort on the outside. Josh Adams (11.0 ppg) doesn't have nearly as accurate an eye beyond the arc (.333), but still he is a key scoring threat for a Wyoming team putting up 70.0 ppg.
As long as the Mustangs can control the tempo, just as the Pioneers did versus Wyoming the last time out, SMU stands a good chance of sending the Cowboys to their first home loss of the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 66, Wyoming 58
12/20 10:30:47 ET