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Wyoming (21-11) at Washington State (16-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 19, 10:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (14,797) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: None. CBI Record: Wyoming 1-1, WSU 1-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: After winning their first postseason game since 2003, the Wyoming Cowboys have made the trek to Pullman for tonight's College Basketball Invitational quarterfinal-round matchup with the Washington State Cougars.
The winner will advance to Wednesday's semifinals against an opponent to be determined after the tournament re-brackets.
Wyoming defeated North Dakota State in the first round of the tournament last Wednesday, 78-75, improving its overall record to an impressive 21-11. The Cowboys' stellar season has included wins over NCAA Tournament qualifying teams in UNLV, Colorado State and Colorado.
Washington State notched a win at San Francisco in the first round, 89-75, bringing its record to an even .500 on the season (16-16). Despite the relatively disappointing campaign, the Cougars have been effective at home, winning 10 of 13 games at Beasley Coliseum, including a 5-0 mark against non- conference foes.
Wyoming has a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series with Washington State, which includes a win in the latest matchup back in 2004.
Wyoming has garnered much of its success this season by sporting a top-flight defense, as it ranks sixth in the nation in allowing just 56.1 ppg. It was able to win in a different way than usual in the first round of this event however. Even though the Cowboys allowed a season-high 75 points to North Dakota State, they were able to claim the victory by putting forth one of their best offensive performances of the year. They shot 53.7 percent from the floor, but the real difference was made at the free-throw line where they connected on 29-of-41 attempts. Leonard Washington paced the team by logging his second straight double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Washington is the Cowboys' leading scorer (12.9 ppg), rebounder (7.0 rpg) and shot blocker (1.2 bpg), while shooting a club-best 56.6 percent from the floor. Assisting Washington are an effective pair of guards -- Francisco Cruz (12.3 ppg) and Luke Martinez (12.1 ppg).
With 89 points in the first-round win over San Francisco, Washington State tallied its second-highest point total of the season. The team was firing on all cylinders offensively, shooting a red-hot 60.4 percent from the field and it made the Dons pay at the foul line, draining 25-of-28 from the stripe. Brock Motum had yet another monster effort in the triumph, pouring in 24 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Motum finished the regular season as the Pac-12's top scorer (18.3 ppg), and he has netted 20 or more points in seven of his last 12 games. The junior forward is also the team's leader in field goal percentage (.553) and rebounding (6.5 rpg). With second-leading scorer Faisel Aden (14.5 ppg) lost for the season, the Cougars do not have another player who averages double figures, although Reggie Moore chips in 9.4 ppg and is the league's leader in assists (5.5 apg). Though steady on both offense (68.8 ppg) and defense (66.6 ppg), WSU is hurt by a poor turnover margin (-1.44).
Washington State's spirits are certainly running high now that it is returning home after a big win, and it is capable of putting up another big number on the scoreboard. But the Cougars are relatively one-dimensional on offense, meaning Wyoming will be able to use its stout defense to key in on Motum, which should help lead the Cowboys to the semifinals.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 69, Washington State 66
03/19 10:36:31 ET
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