NC Central (1-1) at Wyoming (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 14, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: None. Home Record: NC Central 1-0, Wyoming 1-0. Away Record: NC Central 0-1, Wyoming 0-0. Neutral Record: NC Central 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Conference Record: NC Central 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Wyoming Cowboys shoot for their second straight win to tip off the 2012-13 schedule, as they entertain the North Carolina Central Eagles as part of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase at Arena Auditorium in Laramie.
Members of the Mountain West Conference, the Cowboys got off on the right foot over the weekend as they toppled Western State rather convincingly in a 62-42 final at home. Wyoming, which is facing off against NC Central for the first- time ever, is coming off a very successful 2011-12 campaign when it posted a 21-12 record, thanks in large part to an 11-1 start, but the squad slowed down in league play (6-8) before making a brief appearance in the CBI Tournament.
As for the Eagles, they began their schedule with a 71-57 loss to Wichita State on Saturday night, but then followed that up with a 109-46 thrashing of Johnson & Wales University in the home opener at McDougald-McLendon Gym on Monday night.
These two teams will be back in action again on Thursday in this event as they change partners with South Dakota and Southern University, with the teams switching it up once more on Friday to complete the tourney.
The Eagles attacked Johnson & Wales at both ends of the floor on Monday night, as the hosts not only shot 56.3 percent from the floor, but also forced the visitors into an astounding 33 turnovers which set a new record for the program since it moved to the Division I level. Drimir Ferguson came dangerously close to a very unusual triple-double as he tallied 14 points, eight assists and eight steals, all in just 19 minutes off the bench. Ray Willis and Jeremy Ingram posted 16 points apiece, Stanton Kidd 12 and Alfonzo Houston 10 points in a reserve role as the team recorded 23 steals and outscored J&W at the free-throw line, 29-10. The Eagles outscored the Wildcats by a 32-2 margin in fast-break points, while the NCCU reserves tallied 61 points. Defensively, through two games the Eagles have held the competition to 26.3 percent shooting from three-point range and watched those foes convert just 54.3 percent at the free-throw line.
Leading by just four points at the half against Western State, the Cowboys turned up the pressure in the season half as they ripped off a 12-0 scoring run, en route to the 20-point home victory. Derrious Gilmore scored a career- high 19 points as he shot 7-of-11 from the floor, adding four rebounds, four assists and four steals in 30 minutes of work. Leonard Washington accounted for another 16 points, to go along with seven boards and three blocked shots as he played a crucial part in forcing 17 turnovers and holding the visitors to just 31.0 percent shooting from the floor. Larry Nance Jr. put together a solid effort with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds and had he not been saddled with four personal fouls his numbers would have certainly been stronger for a Wyoming team that slipped by with just 35.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Making the trip all the way over to Laramie is tough enough for any school from the east coast, but the Eagles had to travel after playing on Monday night which should make for a tired group of players.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 70, NC Central 62
11/14 11:16:24 ET