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University of Wyoming hosts No. 15 San Diego State

Jan 18, 2013 - From staff reports

The University of Wyoming men's basketball team hosts its second ranked foe of the season on Saturday when the Cowboys square off with No. 15/14 San Diego State at 5:30 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (14-2, 1-2 MW) struggled in a road loss at Fresno State on Wednesday, but have defeated eight of the last 13 top-25 teams to visit the Double A. The Aztecs (14-3, 2-1 MW) suffered their first defeat of the Mountain West season with an 82-75 loss at home to No. 23 UNLV on Wednesday, as all three of their MW games have been decided by seven points or less.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at GoWYO.com.

Fans can follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by Time Warner Cable SportsNet, which is available on DirecTV channel 691.

Wyoming fell to 14-2 overall and 1-2 in the MW after a 49-36 loss at Fresno State on Wednesday.

The Pokes led midway through the first half, but struggled on the offensive end the rest of the contest, as the Bulldogs led by as many as 20 in the second half to pull away for the win.

The Cowboy offense shot season lows of 24 percent (12-of-50) from the field, 18 percent (5-of-27) from deep and 35 percent (7-of-20) at the free throw line, while its 12 field goals were also a season low. Despite the recent struggle, Wyoming has been a pretty balanced squad this season. The Pokes average 65 points per game on 45 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc.

Those percentages rank fifth and fourth in the conference, respectively. UW makes 7.1 threes per game for third in the MW, while its plus 3.0 turnover margin is second. On the defensive end,

Wyoming ranks first in the league and seventh in the nation in scoring defense at 54.4 points per game. UW's holds opponents to 39 percent from the field, ranking fourth in the MW, but allows opponents to hit 34 percent beyond the arc for seventh in the league.

Long-time head coach Steve Fisher has San Diego State poised to make another run in the NCAA tournament, after making it to the second round last season.

The Aztecs returned four starters from that squad and currently sit 14-3 overall on the season and 2-1 in league play for a second-place tie in the MW standings. SDSU began conference play with a narrow 65-62 win at Fresno State, before earning a 79-72 overtime win over Colorado State at home. Most recently, the Aztecs lost an 82-75 home game to UNLV on Wednesday night. The contest was tied, 76-76, with 3:43 to go, but SDSU missed shots down the stretch for just its fifth loss in the last 63 home games.

The Aztec offense scores 72 points per game on 44 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep, but shoots just 67 percent at the free throw line. SDSU ranks third in the MW in three-point percentage, but last in the league in free throw percentage.

Defensively, the Aztecs allow 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep, as both marks are third. Their 5.0 blocks per game are second.

Senior forward Leonard Washington continues to be Wyoming's top player at 14.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. His rebounds are fifth in the MW and blocks are second, while his 51 percent from the field is third.

Senior guard Derrious Gilmore and sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. also score in double figures at 11.0 and 10.6 points, respectively.

Gilmore adds a team-high 2.6 assists per game and nearly two threes per game, while Nance contributes 7.1 rebounds and a team-high 56 percent from the field.

Sophomore guard Riley Grabau has scored in double figures in the last three contests, including a career-high 12 points against Nevada last Saturday, to average 6.6 points and 2.5 assists.

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