Wyoming vs San Diego State: 3 Keys to a Cowboys Victory
Wyoming desperately needs a conference win
WHO: Wyoming Cowboys (4-11, 0-2 MW) vs. San Diego State (8-6, 0-1 MW)
WHEN: Tuesday, January 8 — 8:00 PM MT/ 7:00 PM PT
WHERE: Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV
SERIES RECORD: 41-41
Wyoming enters Viejas Arena searching for their first conference win against the Aztecs who will be looking for the same. With injuries (Maldonado, Hendricks, Mueller), suspension (Redding) and Lwal Dung’s decision to return to Australia, the Cowboys have been essentially reduced to 7 available players.
Wyoming fans have become accustomed to the Cowboys fast pace of play during Allen Edwards’ tenure but the Pokes have dramatically slowed down to account for their lack of depth. While the Cowboys haven’t seen results of the change in philosophy in the standings, Wyoming has been able to keep games relatively close.
Justin James, The Facilitator
The senior’s ability to get buckets has never been in question, James stepped onto campus as a freshman with unique ability to create shots for himself. Getting shots for other players was never a priority or pressing need when playing with teammates such as Josh Adams and Hayden Dalton.
The combination of a season-ending injury to Jake Hendricks (11.4 ppg) and the potentially season-ending injury to Hunter Maldonado (13.8 ppg) has had a devastating effect on the Cowboys offense. Hunter Thompson has stepped up to provide 12.3 ppg and newly inserted Trace Young has added 13.8 ppg in his first 3 games of the season but both players rely on someone getting the ball to them.
James is adding a solid 4.3 assists per game but his horrific shooting averages of 37.6% from the field and 24.6% from behind the 3 point line are not a formula of success for Wyoming. While part of his poor shooting percentage comes from forcing shots when other players are hesitating to shoot, the Cowboys need him to get easy buckets for the others if they are going to have a chance to make some noise in conference play. This ties into…
Sharing the Ball, Sharing the Points
The Cowboys have only had more assists than their opponent in two games this season but they are 1-1 when they have been able to do that. The Pokes slowing the pace of play has helped them defensively but has not helped them create easier shots on offense as Wyoming is last in field goal percentage in the MW at 41%.
James can only facilitate the offense if they are actually running an offense and his teammates are looking to take shots. As bad as Wyoming has looked at times, Edwards has the formula to compensate for their offensive struggles, they just need much better execution.
Defend the 3
San Diego State enters this matchup leading the Mountain West in 3pt percentage at 38%. The Cowboys are 0-6 this season when being outshot from behind the arc. At 36%, Wyoming is shooting the ball at the 4th best rate in the league. To win this area, their defense will need to step up.