Three things to watch tonight as the 25th-ranked Wyoming Cowboys host San Diego State at 9 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie:
1. Ball security: San Diego State leads the MW in turnovers forced with 15 per game. UW averages around 11, but had 13 and 17, respectively, in games last week against Boise State and Colorado State. The Cowboys can’t give the Aztecs extra possessions off turnovers.
2. Crashing the glass: San Diego State has about a six-rebound advantage on UW, although the Cowboys — in terms of defensive rebounds — have done a good job this season. UW must hold its own on the glass, and not allow San Diego State a lot of second-chance points.
3. Who makes some perimeter shots?: Meaning for UW as you know that San Diego State, and its 1-3-1 zone, will try to pack the middle to take away senior forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. Someone, or multiple guys, will need to make some outside shots to either take the Aztecs out of that zone or loosen it up.
For more on the game, here is my video preview:
Some quotes from both teams entering tonight’s game:
–” He’s a long-time and really good fiend. I spoke Sunday while he was babysitting grandchild. He and his staff, along with a great student body and fan base, have really become the signature team in the West. When you go to San Diego State, it doesn’t take long to see how much they love (basketball), love their team and they show up every single game.” — UW coach Larry Shyatt on San Diego State coach Steve Fisher.
–“He’s arguably the No. 1 player (in the Mountain West). He’s a very good player who has gotten better every year. When he came in, he didn’t know if he was good enough to play at Wyoming. Now he knows he can play when he finishes at Wyoming.” — Fisher on UW senior forward Larry Nance Jr.
–“They’re a heavy rebounding team. We’ve got to put a body on them and keep them out of the lane. It’s going to be a battle down low.” — Nance.
–“When someone runs clock, no one wants to play defense a whole 35 seconds on the shot clock. It kind of messes with your mind, so you have to be mentally strong. We have to be focused. The first couple of seconds might be okay, but when it hits the under 15-mark, yo have to be focused in and ready to play some defense.” — San Diego State senior guard Aqeel Quinn on UW.
–“It’s all about repetition. I’ve probably shot that free throw shot thousands of times since I was little. You just say to yourself ‘it’s going in.’ ” — UW senior guard Riley Grabau on leading the nation in free-throw percentage (94.2) and having made 28 in a row.
Stat of the day: San Diego State has won 131 straight games when it has led with five minutes left to play.
For more on this game and other UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.