Wyoming (6-2) vs. South Dakota (3-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 9:15 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center (10,000) -- Rapid City, South Dakota. Television: MidconSN. Home Record: Wyoming 6-0, USD 2-0. Away Record: Wyoming 0-2, USD 1-4. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, USD 0-0. Conference Record: Wyoming 0-0, USD 0-0. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 7-2.
GAME NOTES: The Wyoming Cowboys try to pick up their first win of the season outside of Laramie tonight, as they challenge the South Dakota Coyotes in non- conference play at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.
While they are a perfect 6-0 at home thus far, the Cowboys have dropped both of their road tests to the likes of Colorado and nationally-ranked Ohio State. Since bowing to the Buckeyes back on Nov. 25 by a score of 65-50, the team has rebounded with wins over Montana State (79-54) and Black Hills State (79-65), that last one coming earlier this week.
As for the Coyotes, this is the second straight meeting against a member of the Mountain West Conference, after falling to Air Force two nights ago in a 94-86 decision. That loss snapped a three-game win streak for the squad.
Wyoming has won six of the last seven meetings between the program and owns a 7-2 record in the all-time series with the Coyotes, thanks in part to a 70-53 win at home last month. In that contest, Riley Grabau led all scorers with 20 points for the Pokes, hitting 4-of-5 shots behind the 3-point line.
This is the first time the teams are meeting on a neutral floor.
Against Black Hills State, all five Wyoming starters scored in double figures, led by Larry Nance with his 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. As a unit, the Cowboys knocked down 53.8 percent of their attempts in the first half and then elevated their accuracy to an impressive 68.0 percent from the floor in the second half. Josh Adams accounted for 15 points, Nathan Sobey 12, followed by Derek Cooke and Riley Grabau with 11 points apiece for the hosts.
Grabau paces the team in scoring through eight games with not only 56.4 percent from the field, en route to his 14.5 ppg, but an astounding 24-of-37 (.649) behind the 3-point line as well. Nance and Adams both check in with 11.9 ppg, the former clearing 9.0 rpg to lead in that department, while both shoot better than 51.0 percent from the floor in order to lift the entire team to 50.7 percent, compared to just 38.0 percent for the competition.
South Dakota led by eight points at the break and by as many as 13 late in the first half against Air Force on Thursday night, but then the Coyotes let the Falcons off the hook. In a game that featured nine ties and 11 lead changes, USD was outscored at the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes by a 26-13 margin, 31-21 overall. Casey Kasperbauer came off the bench to convert 6-of-9 shots beyond the arc in order to post a team-best 20 points for the Coyotes, followed by Trey Norris with 15 points, Trevor Gruis 14 and Brandon Bos 13 points and six assists in the setback.
The last three games have seen a different leading scorer each time out for the Coyotes, but overall the top man is Bos with his 13.9 ppg. The only other double-digit performer is Gruis with his 11.1 ppg, as he shoots 56.6 percent from the floor and paces the group with 6.4 rpg, but at the same time is shooting only 64.3 percent at the free-throw line.
Clearly the Coyotes have revenge as a motivating factor in this meeting, but the defense for Wyoming continues to be a strong suit for the visitors in this clash, enough so that USD will most likely head to the loss column yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 68, South Dakota 62
12/07 10:35:18 ET