Wyoming-Fresno St. Preview
If Wyoming is to bounce back from losing its first game as a ranked team in 27 seasons, it must find a way to finally win at Fresno State.
In a matchup of Mountain West Conference co-leaders, the No. 25 Cowboys try to avoid going 0-10 on the road against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Wyoming’s first appearance in the Top 25 since March 1988 could be a brief one after its seven-game winning streak ended with Wednesday’s 60-52 home loss to San Diego State. Among the nation’s top teams in field-goal percentage (49.9) and third in scoring defense (52.6 points per game), the Cowboys (15-3, 4-1) shot 41.9 percent and allowed an opponent to reach 60 points for the first in four contests as their 13-game home winning streak came to an end.
Though the Aztecs’ reserves outscored Wyoming’s bench 24-0 and they held an overall 13-5 advantage on the offensive glass, Cowboys coach Larry Shyatt wasn’t completely upset with his squad’s effort against an SDSU team that opened the season ranked 16th and is fourth in the nation allowing an average of 53.4 points.
"I saw no quit in our guys. I saw a lot of fight in our guys," he said. "There is always a lot of disappointment when you fall short, but I did not think we lost. I thought (San Diego State) took it from us.
"We’ve got to get ready and our mindset has to be right for Fresno State."
The challenge only gets tougher for Wyoming, which has won three straight road games after falling at SMU and California, but again tries to win at Fresno where five of the last seven meetings were decided by five points or fewer.
Looking for a fifth straight win overall and sixth in a row at home where they beat San Diego State 59-57 on Jan. 3, the Bulldogs (9-9, 4-1) expect a full house on a day when the school will be giving away a free iPad at each media timeout.
"We’re going to have a well-coached team that competes at a high level coming in," said Fresno State coach Rodney Terry, whose team is allowing an average of 58.6 points while going 6-1 at home. "We’re not going to change anything we’ve done to this point."
The Bulldogs will try to contain Wyoming forward Larry Nance Jr. (15.9 points, 6.8 rebounds per game), who is shooting a league-high 58.9 percent and scored 20 in last season’s 67-62 loss at Fresno. The senior had 19 on Wednesday, and has scored at least 18 points in five of the last six. He’s averaged 9.3 boards in the last four.
Fresno State point guard Cezar Guerrero, who averaged 13.1 points and a team-high 3.5 assists in 2013-14 after transferring from Oklahoma State, hit four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points while making his season debut in Wednesday’s 73-62 win at San Jose State. The junior sat the first two months after not meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.
Guerrero had four points in the win over the Cowboys last season, but followed with 13 in a 72-66 loss at Wyoming on Feb. 18.
Fresno State has dropped 15 straight against ranked opponents since a 58-52 home victory over then-No. 14 Oklahoma State on Feb. 10, 2002.