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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Event Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: None. Home Record: Wyoming 12-2, SJSU 4-6. Away Record: Wyoming 2-7, SJSU 2-10. Neutral Record: Wyoming 1-0, SJSU 0-2. Conference Record: Wyoming 6-5, SJSU 0-12. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: Coming off their biggest win of the season, the Wyoming Cowboys try to keep the momentum going as they visit the San Jose State Spartans for a Mountain West Conference battle.
After losing back-to-back decisions on the road at New Mexico and UNLV last week, the Cowboys returned to Laramie on Tuesday night to host the red-hot San Diego State Aztecs and turned the fifth-ranked team in the nation away in a 68-62 final. The victory, the first for the program over a top-five opponent since 1998, was the 12th in 14 home dates for the Pokes, who are now 6-5 in league play as well.
So now Wyoming goes from playing the top team in the MWC to the weakest in San Jose State, a program which has come up empty in all 12 league tilts. Three nights ago the Spartans had a fighting chance against visiting Air Force, but again came up short in a 51-48 final. The team is just 4-6 at home this season, although two of those wins came against the likes of Pacifica and Westminster.
The Cowboys won the first meeting of the season in Laramie last month by a score of 67-57, which means the all-time series now numbers 5-1 in favor of Wyoming.
A year ago, the Aztecs struggled on offense during their visit to Arena Auditorium and that was again the case earlier this week when SDSU was limited to only eight field goals through the first 20 minutes. At the offensive end, Wyoming shut the door in the second half with 64.7 percent accuracy from the field, en route to the six-point win. Riley Grabau accounted for 17 points and Larry Nance Jr. 14 for the hosts.
Nance has been leading the pack in conference play thus far for the Cowboys, producing 15.0 ppg as he plays more than 39 minutes per contest. The big man has been huge in the paint for the squad, accounting for 33 of their 45 blocked shots in conference action and a team-best 8.0 rpg, but still the Pokes are being beaten on the glass by an average of 6.6 rpg. Josh Adams (12.3 ppg) and Grabau (11.3 ppg) add significantly at the offensive end of the floor.
The Spartans fell behind Air Force right out of the chute on Wednesday night and from there the hosts converted just seven field goals in the first half, a mere 30.2 percent from the floor for the game. San Jose State finished with more turnovers (18) than field goals as Chris Cunningham registered a double- double with 13 points and 11 boards, but was also charged with five miscues. Devante Wilson posted a team-best 15 points and leading scorer, Rashad Muhammad, accounted for only five points on 2-of-10 from the field.
As a unit the Spartans are shooting only 38.0 percent from the floor, leading to a disappointing 64.1 ppg, which is a far cry from the 71.5 ppg allowed by the SJSU offense in 2013-14. Muhammad has come off the bench in all but one game but is still the top scorer with 14.3 ppg, thanks in large part to his 42.0 percent effort beyond the arc, a level of accuracy that is considerably better than Jaleel Williams (10.8 ppg) who has knocked down just 29.9 percent of his perimeter tries.
Wyoming prides itself on a relentless defense that refuses to back down from any opponent, even on the road. To this point the program is allowing MWC foes just 60.0 ppg and that could easily drop even more following today's battle in California.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 63, San Jose State 53
02/15 10:29:33 ET
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