Texas State (11-21) vs. Denver (21-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada.
Television: None. Home Record: TSU 4-11, Denver 13-2. Away Record: TSU 4-8,
Denver 8-6. Neutral Record: TSU 3-2, Denver 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 4-13,
Denver 16-2. Series Record: Denver leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Two of the latest additions to the Western Athletic Conference
prepare themselves for battle in the quarterfinals of the 30th annual
tournament, as the Denver Pioneers take on the Texas State Bobcats at Orleans
Arena in Las Vegas.
The Bobcats may be new to the league, but the seventh seed in this year's
event have already tasted success thanks to a convincing 68-56 win over
Seattle in the first round of the tourney two nights ago. Texas State,
which came over from the Southland Conference for this season, is only make a
brief stop in the WAC before moving on to the Sun Belt Conference beginning
Denver, which ironically enough, came to the WAC from the Sun Belt for this
season, found the transition to be rather smooth, at least from a conference
perspective. Granted, the team opened the campaign with a 1-5 mark, but when
the league schedule kicked into gear there was almost no stopping the
Pioneers. The team earned the second seed in this event by finishing with a
16-2 league mark, putting together a strong 10-game win streak to close out
the regular season.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, Denver is ahead by
a count of 2-0 thanks to a 64-53 victory at home during the first week of
January, and a 79-64 triumph a month later in San Marcos.
The winner of this clash will be back in action on Friday in the semifinals
versus the survivor of the Idaho/New Mexico State battle for the right to take
part in the title tilt on Saturday night.
Joel Wright scored a game-high 26 points as the Texas State Bobcats posted the
double-digit win over the Seattle Redhawks in the first round of the WAC
Tournament earlier this week. Wright, who shot 12-of-14 at the free-throw
line, added nine rebounds and four steals for the Bobcats, followed by Matt
Staff with 13 points in the triumph. Texas State scored the first points of
the night and never looked back, shooting not only 50.0 percent from the floor
in the first half but also a perfect 10-of-10 at the free-throw line in order
to establish a 36-28 advantage at the break. In the second half the Bobcats
again shot an even 50 percent from the field and came up big at the charity
stripe, 12-of-16, all while holding Seattle to a mere 32.3 percent from the
Outside of a 53-42 setback versus New Mexico State on the road in late
January, the Pioneers have been the hottest team over the last 10 weeks of the
campaign, winning all but one of the last 18 contests on the schedule,
the last of those victories coming on Saturday afternoon in a blowout of
LaTech, 78-54, which had been seemingly invincible right up until the final
week of the regular season. Denver is led by Chris Udofia (12.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg,
100 assists) who was selected to the All-WAC First Team for his efforts, but
the Pioneers are just so much more deeper than that these days. Royce O'Neale
(11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Brett Olson (11.1 ppg) and Chase Hallam (10.0 ppg) bring
experience and maturity that has earned them spots on the WAC's all-conference
teams as well.
The earlier matchups between these teams were by no means one-sided, which
should give the Bobcats reason to believe they can compete. But before Texas
State gets ahead of itself, it might as well start thinking about life in the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 76, Texas State 61
03/14 10:37:15 ET
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