LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Cowboys return from the holiday break hosting Air Force in the Mountain West Conference opener in the Arena-Auditorium on Wednesday evening. The game is set for a 7 p.m. start. The Cowboys are 6-11 in MW openers, as UW opens MW play against Air Force for the first time.
The game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats, listen and watch the contest on GoWyo.com. The game will also be streamed live on Twitter.
The Cowboys saw their seven game winning streak snapped in overtime to No. 23 USC in the Championship game of the Las Vegas Classic last Friday. UW is 8-0 at home this season. UW ranks seventh in the nation in defensive rebounds at 31.1 per game leading the conference. Wyoming also leads the conference in blocked shots per game ranking No. 53 nationally at 4.9. UW heads into the game ranking No. 24 in the country and leading the MW in field goal percentage defense at 37.9. The Cowboys have been strong from the free throw line leading the MW and ranking No. 33 in the nation at 75.2. The Pokes average 9.2 triples per game leading the league and ranking No. 51 in the country.
The Falcons head to Laramie with a 7-6 overall record and have lost three of their last four games. Air Force leads the MW and ranks No. 85 in the country in points scored at 78.7. AFA also leads the conference and ranks No. 10 in the nation in three point percentage at 41.7. The Falcons also take care of the ball with the fewest turnovers in the conference at 11.3 per game. Opponents are shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 33.4 percent from behind the arc. Air Force is also solid at the free throw line shooting 73.9 percent ranking third in the MW.
The Cowboys are led in scoring by sophomore guard Justin James. He is averaging 16.8 points per game on the season ranking fourth in the MW. James is shooting 47 percent from the field and adds 4.6 rebounds per game. Senior guard Jason McManamen is pouring in 15.0 points per game. He ranks second in the MW in three pointers made this season with 37, which ranks No. 42 in the country. Junior forward Alan Herndon is adding 9.9 points per game and 5.7 rebounds. He ranks second in the MW and No. 44 in the country in blocked shots with 24. Junior forward Hayden Dalton leads the team in rebounding at 8.6 per game, which ranks third in the MW and No. 64 in the nation. He also adds 12.4 points per night.
Air Force is led in scoring by senior forward Hayden Graham. He is pouring in 12.3 points per game and adds 5.5 rebounds. He is one of four players averaging double-figures this season. Guard Jacob Van adds 11.8 points per game and is shooting 51 percent from the three point line. Zach Kocur adds 11.5 points with Frank Toohey adding 11.2.
UW and Air Force renew their rivalry on Wednesday. Wyoming leads the all-time series 75-36 in a series that dates back to 1958. The Cowboys are 39-14 all-time against the Falcons in the Arena-Auditorium. The Falcons have won six of the last eight meetings.
The Pokes head to Las Vegas for the second time in as many weeks to face UNLV for a New Year’s Eve contest in the Thomas & Mack Center.