The Wyoming Cowboys(7-8, 0-1) will try their luck to grab a conference win when they host the New Mexico Lobos (12-3) on Saturday. The Pokes have had all seven of their wins come in the increasingly empty confines of Arena-Auditorium. Perhaps a weekend game and a tough opponent will bring a few more fans out of their homes.
The Cowboys have already been dealing with injuries to Afam Muojeke and Adam Waddell this season but now another player is banged up. Djibril Thiamis dealing with a bruised toe after the loss to Colorado State on Tuesday. Thiam is still projected to start but it remains uncertain on how minutes the sore joint can handle. The Pokes will need a few #thiamslams if they want to keep this game close.
Despite losing two starters the Lobos still have a potent offense and have a heavy advantage in most categories. The Lobos manage 76 points a game which 10 more than Wyoming and each team allows 63 per contest. At least they have struggled recently with a 2-2 stretch including losses to Dayton and Northern Iowa. The Lobos also managed just a one point win over Texas Tech in that stretch.
This game will be broadcast on CBS College so fans like me who don't get the Mtn. can finally watch the Pokes. All three losses for New Mexico have come on the road so perhaps Wyoming will have a shot in this one. The advantage the Lobos will have is their depth. It will be tough for the Pokes to try and wear down their attack since they have so many weapons. Three players average double figures in points and three more average at least eight points.
Senior Dairese Gary leads the team with 13 points a game while also dishing out 5.2 assists. Gary shoots 35% from behind the arc which is also the team average. Freshman Kendall Williamsis stating a case for MWC Freshman of the Honors with his 11 points a game and hot shooting with both FG and 3PT shooting over 50%.
On the interior freshman Alex Kirks tand 6-11 and should be tough for Thiam and Amath M'Baye to defend. UCLA transfer F Drew Gooden is 6-9 245 and has only appeared in six games all coming off the bench. Still the guy takes up some real estate and is averaging nine points and seven rebounds in just 23 minutes.
So what can Wyoming do to win this game?
- Continue the hot streak. Desmar Jacksonnow has 20 or more points in four straights games. Putting up that same amount against New Mexico would be impressive and vital for the Wyoming success.
- Play 40 minutes. Sure it sounds simple but not for the Pokes. After a great first half against CSU the Pokes fell apart and lost by 13. This collapse has been a trend this season.
- More free throws. The points went 12 of 20 from the charity stripe against CSU with JayDee Lusterputting up a 1 for 8 effort. Everyone else did a solid job.
- Don't get into a shootout. Wyoming has never won when allowing 59 or more points.