Border War 2016: Cowboys and Rams Square Off on Saturday in Laramie

Saturday will be the 224th Border War when the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team hosts Colorado State in the Arena-Auditorium at 4 p.m. MT. This year’s rivalry features two of the best individuals and teams beyond the arc in the Mountain West. The Cowboys (10-12, 3-6 MW) and the Rams (12-8, 4-3 MW) both rank in the league’s top three in three-point percentage and triples per game, while Josh Adams and Antwan Scott are both in the MW’s top five in the same categories individually.

A Look at the Match-Up

Head coach Larry Shyatt and the Pokes sit ninth in the Mountain West standings at 10-12 overall and 3-6 in league play after a 71-60 setback at Fresno State last Tuesday. The Cowboys led early in the second half, but went cold from there and suffered through a seven-minute stretch without scoring. Wyoming would still pull within three with six minutes left, but the Bulldogs finished on a 17-9 run to hold of the Pokes. Wyoming shot 53 percent from the field in the first half, but just 21 percent in the second half to finish at 35 percent (15-of-43) with a season-low 15 made field goals. The Pokes made 38 percent (11-of-29) beyond the arc. Fresno State hit 42 percent (23-of-55) from the field and 28 percent (5-of-18) from deep.

The Cowboys were out-rebounded 39-26, including 12-2 on the offensive glass. The Bulldogs committed just seven turnovers, the second fewest for a UW foe this season, for a 22-6 advantage in points off turnovers, a season high for a Poke opponent. On the season, Wyoming averages 69.0 points on 42 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. The Cowboys rank third in the conference from three, while their 9.2 triples per game are second in the MW and 32nd in the NCAA. Their 73 percent at the free-throw line is second in the league and 49th in the nation. Defensively, Wyoming allows 70.1 points on 42 and 33 percent, respectively. Wyoming’s 17.8 fouls per game are third in the conference and 66th nationally.

Head coach Larry Eustachy and Colorado State enter with a 12-8 overall record, including 4-3 in the conference, for fifth in the MW standings. Most recently, the Rams downed San Jose State, 74-66, last Wednesday at home. The Spartans took a one-point lead with 3:30 left, but CSU responded with a 5-0 run and made five of its last six free throws to close out the game. The Rams hit 47 percent (25-of-53) from the field but just 32 percent (7-of-22) from the three-point line. San Jose State was 46 percent (25-of-54) from the floor and 33 percent (8-of-24) from the arc. The Rams got to the free-throw line 23 times and hit 17 for 74 percent, while the Spartans were just 8-of-13 (62 percent). CSU won the battle of the boards, 35-29, and also forced 11 SJSU turnovers, two more than it gave up, and converted that into a 21-10 advantage.

On the season, Colorado State’s 81.4 points per game pace the MW and rank 24th in the NCAA, as the Rams shoot 44 percent from the field and 38 percent beyond the arc. Their three-point percentage also leads the conference and is 53rd nationally, while their 9.8 triples per game are first and 14th, respectively. CSU also makes a league-best 74 percent at the free-throw line for 37th in the NCAA. Defensively, the Rams allow a league-worst 77.4 points per game, as opponents shoot 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from deep. CSU’s 1.2 assist-turnover ratio leads the MW and ranks 76th in the nation.

Each Team’s Leaders

Senior guard Josh Adams returned from his one-game suspension with a game-high 32 points at Fresno State for his seventh 30-point game this season and now sits 15 points shy of Wyoming’s all-time top 10. His 25.0 points per game lead the MW and rank fourth in the NCAA, as he also paces the Pokes at 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Adams’ 3.0 triples per game also lead the conference and are 32nd nationally, while his 38 percent from deep is fifth in the league. He was the only Poke to reach double-figure points against the Bulldogs, though, as junior guard Jason McManamen broke a streak of six-straight contests with at least 10. He averages 12.5 points per game, as his team-best 42 percent beyond the arc is second in the MW and his 2.4 triples per game are fourth. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, as he contributes 7.3 points and 4.8 boards per game. Sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes and sophomore guard Jeremy Lieberman were UW’s other starters versus Fresno State, as the Pokes have utilized seven different starting lineups this season.

Red-shirt senior guard Antwan Scott leads the way for the Rams at 16.1 points per game, good for seventh in the MW. He had 23 points against the Spartans, but was just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc. His 44 percent from deep on the season is first in the league and 21st nationally, while his 2.8 triples per game are second and 39th, respectively. Red-shirt junior guard John Gillon also averages in double figures at 12.1 points and a team-high 3.9 assists per game. He ranks fifth in the conference in assists, while his 92 percent at the free-throw line is first in the MW and second in the NCAA. Junior forward Emmanuel Omogbo and red-shirt senior forward Tiel Daniels combined for 16 boards against the Spartans and are fifth and ninth in the MW at 7.2 and 6.5 rebounds per game.

About the Series

The Cowboys own a 131-92 lead on the Rams in the all-time series, including 19-16 in MW play and 76-35 in Laramie. Wyoming has been victorious in the last three meetings, including a 59-48 home win on Feb. 4, 2015, in the last clash between the two programs. In that game Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. each posted double-doubles, as the Cowboys led by as many as 16 points en route to their first season sweep of Colorado State since 2008-09.