BYU-Wyoming Preview

Wyoming started a tough week against the hottest team in the

Mountain West Conference. The Cowboys’ schedule doesn’t get any

easier as they return home to face BYU.

The No. 16 Cougars look to defeat the Cowboys for the 11th

straight time Saturday as they try to keep pace in the MWC

race.

BYU (24-3, 9-2) is one-half game behind No. 12 New Mexico, and

those teams will meet next Saturday in a major showdown in Provo.

The standings seem unlikely to change this Saturday, with the Lobos

playing last-place Air Force and the Cougars taking on

next-to-last-place Wyoming (9-17, 2-10).

The Cowboys weren’t able to impact the race Wednesday as they

suffered their sixth straight loss, 83-61 at New Mexico, winner of

10 in a row. Wyoming never recovered after allowing the game’s

first 11 points.

Coach Heath Schroyer has seen up close how good the MWC is this

season.

“I don’t think you can consider New Mexico, UNLV and BYU

mid-majors. I think the commitment these institutions have made to

basketball is night and day,” Schroyer said.

BYU coach Dave Rose is 10-0 against Wyoming since taking over in

2005. The Cougars beat the Cowboys 81-66 at home Jan. 20 behind

freshman Tyler Haws’ season-high 24 points.

Not only is Rose perfect against Wyoming, his club won the last

six meetings by double digits. Still, the coach is wary of facing

Schroyer – the two were assistants together at BYU under Steve

Cleveland from 1997-2001.

“I can tell you this, his team is playing as hard as any teams

in the country with nine wins,” Rose said. “They hustle, they guard

the whole floor. They’re still playing for him and they’re always

tough there in the Arena-Auditorium.”

BYU had no trouble on the first leg of its two-game road

stretch, winning 92-70 over Colorado State on Wednesday. MWC

leading scorer Jimmer Fredette scored 36 points, one game after he

had nine in a 91-48 victory over Air Force last Saturday.

“Some games, I am going to have to score,” Fredette said. “Some

games, I don’t have to score because when teams key on me, my

teammates are making great shots.”

Fredette had 17 points by halftime as the Cougars built a

10-point lead. Jonathan Tavernari added 13 off the bench to help

BYU pull away.

“It’s getting your ninth conference win, that’s the whole focus

of your group,” Rose said. “Now the most important thing is to get

your 10th conference win. This team is very good at that.”

Wyoming is 1-6 since leading scorer Afam Muojeke was lost for

the season Jan. 20 with a knee injury. Freshman guard Desmar

Jackson stepped up to average 17.5 points in the first six games of

that span before getting held to nine Wednesday.