Luke Nevill and the Utes open MWC play Saturday at home against Wyoming. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. MT
Jan. 2, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah men's basketball team (8-5, 0-0) opens Mountain West Conference play Saturday at home against Wyoming (11-3, 0-0) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. MT.
Utah enters the contest looking to extend a two-game winning streak that includes a 66-65 win over No. 16-ranked Gonzaga on Wednesday. In their previous game the Utes went on the road to defeat UC Irvine, 60-52.
Wyoming is coming off of a 90-85 overtime loss at Utah State. The loss dropped the Cowboys to 2-3 in road games this year.
Utah and Wyoming met twice last year, with the Cowboys getting the better of the Utes on both occasions. Wyoming took the first meeting by a 69-64 score in Salt Lake City. Utah center Luke Nevill (Perth, Australia) was the game's leading scorer with 25 points, while guard Brandon Ewing led the Cowboys with 21 points.
In their second matchup last year, Wyoming defended its home court with a 72-64 victory. Nevill was once again the game's leading scorer, pouring in 22 points. Ewing had 14 in the contest.
Both Nevill and Ewing were Preseason All-MWC choices and are currently leading their respective teams in scoring. Nevill's 16.8 points per game ranks fourth in the MWC, while Ewing's 18.6 ppg tops the league. Nevill also ranks second in the conference in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocked shots (2.23 bpg).
Statistically, the two teams are very similar. Both squads are shooting 47.4% from the field and are allowing opponents to shoot just over 40%. Their three-point shooting is nearly identical, while Wyoming is defending the three-ball better. The Cowboys hold the edge in rebounding at 40.4 per game to Utah's 34.8, but are also giving up nearly five more opponents' boards per game than the Utes.
Utah won its conference opener last year over Air Force by a 58-36 score in Salt Lake City. The Utes went on to finish 7-9 in the league, posting a 5-3 record in MWC home games. Utah was selected to finish fourth in this year's preseason MWC poll, while Wyoming was picked to finish sixth.