Wyoming (8-0) at Illinois State (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 4, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Wyoming 6-0, ISU 3-0. Away Record: Wyoming 2-0, ISU 1-1. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: Wyoming 0-0, ISU 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: An undefeated Wyoming squad hits the road for the third time this season, as the Cowboys visit the Illinois State Redbirds in non-conference action.
With eight straight wins to kick off the 2012-13 campaign, the Cowboys are off to their best start since the 1987-88 campaign when the program began with 11 consecutive victories. On Saturday, Wyoming hosted 19th-ranked Colorado and took care of the Buffaloes with a 76-69 win, which means head coach Larry Shyatt is now 4-1 all-time at home against ranked foes.
As for the Redbirds, led by head coach Dan Muller, they began the new season with five straight wins of their own, but since then have dropped back-to-back decisions. The first of those setbacks was a 72-69 overtime loss to Northwestern, and then Saturday saw the group bow by a mere three points to nationally-ranked Louisville at home.
The Cowboys won the only previous encounter between these two squads with a 71-48 romp in Casper, Wyoming back in 1985.
In a game that saw nine ties and 13 lead changes, the Cowboys put together a late second-half run on Saturday in order to score the upset over nationally- ranked Colorado. Key to the run was the play of Leonard Washington who finished with a season-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor, adding seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a pair of steals in order to offset a weak showing behind the three-point line (1-of-6) and at the charity stripe (3-of-7). Larry Nance, Jr. added 14 points and seven boards of his own, followed by Luke Martinez with 13 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Josh Adams and Derrious Gilmore both tallied 12 points in order to keep the team undefeated. Washington, the leading scorer for the Pokes in three of their last five outings, is putting up 15.1 ppg, even though his 6-of-24 showing beyond the arc is less than optimal. Washington would be much better served if he remained close to the basket where he is bringing in 8.5 rpg to pace the program in that category as well.
Illinois State led by as many as 13 points just over eight minutes into the meeting with the Cardinals over the weekend, even with the squad shooting only 2-of-11 behind the three-point line through 20 minutes. In the second half, Louisville made up the difference and jumped ahead late in order to grab the hard-fought win. Tyler Brown gave the Redbirds a chance for the victory with his game-high 25 points, followed by Jackie Carmichael with 20 points and nine boards, but the team could not overcome 22 turnovers. Leading the way in scoring for the Redbirds through seven games is Brown who has tallied 19.7 ppg, shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and close to 40 percent beyond the arc. Carmichael, a 59.0 percent shooter from the field himself, accounts for 16.7 ppg and is also the leader on the glass with 7.1 rpg, but somehow those positive numbers still don't balance out his 23 turnovers already. While the team has been limited to less than 70 points in each of the last two games, ISU is still averaging 82.3 ppg, while limiting foes to 66.9 ppg.
As some point this season the magic will wear off for the Cowboys, but for now it should continue, especially against an Illinois State squad that spent most of its energy coming up just short versus Louisville.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 71, Illinois State 62
12/04 10:53:09 ET