It Has Been So Long Since Wyoming Played Niagara in Basketball That. ...
From the desk of Nick Seeman
It has been awhile since Wyoming and Niagara met on the hardwoods.
The Cowboys host Niagara at the Dome of Doom on Friday night, the second time the two teams have met in basketball.
The first time? Dec. 28, 1961.
How long ago was that?
Well, Bill Strannigan was the Cowboys coach at the time.
The Cowboys have had nine different head coaches since Strannigan, including Larry Shyatt in two stints. Only three of the coaches had a losing record in their tenure — Moe Radovich (.304), Joby Wright (.469) and Heath Schroyer (.419).
The Cowboys have made seven appearances in the NCAA tournament — 1967, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1988, 2002 and 2015.
The Cowboys have made eight appearances in the NIT — 1968, 1969, 1986, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003.
The Cowboys have made five appearances in the CBI — 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017, when they won the CBI championship.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming picked up its first win of the season on Wednesday defeating Grambling State by a tally of 86-78 in the Arena-Auditorium. It was a season-high in points for the Pokes, as Wyoming hit a season-high nine three pointers. Wyoming scored 25 points off of turnovers, the most since November of last season.
Wyoming is shooting 40 percent from the field, while opponents are hitting 50 percent from the field. Wyoming is only turning the ball over 10.7 times per game, while forcing the opponent to turn the ball over 15 times per game. The Pokes are averaging 7.3 steals per night.
The Purple Eagles are 1-1 on the season after a win over St. Bonaventure on Monday and a loss on Wednesday at Loyola-Chicago by a score of 75-62. Niagara is shooting 36 percent from the field with the opposition shooting 49 percent. NU is a great free throw shooting team hitting at an 82 percent clip for the year. Niagara averages 71 points per game with opponents averaging 73.5.
Each Team’s Leaders
Senior Justin James leads the Cowboys in scoring at 20.3 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounds at 9.3 and assists at 5.3. James ranks in the top-five in the Mountain West in all three categories. Sophomore Hunter Maldonado adds 14.3 points per game and 5.7 rebounds. He recorded his first career double-double with career best 21 points a career best 12 rebounds against Grambling State.
Junior Jake Hendricks adds 11.7 points per game. He has nine three pointers on the season to lead the Brown and Gold. He ranks fifth in the conference at 3.0 triples per game. Freshman TJ Taylor added a career-high 21 points against Grambling and is averaging 10.5 per game for the season.
The Purple Eagles are led in scoring by guard James Towns, as he averages 18.5 points per game. He also adds five rebounds per night. He is 13-of-17 from the free throw line this season for 77 percent. Forward Marvin Prochet adds 17.0 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per night. He is shooting 50 percent from behind the arc this season. Guard Keleaf Tate averages 11.5 points per game to go along with four rebounds.
About the Series
Friday’s game marks the second meeting between the two schools. Wyoming won the first meeting in Philadelphia on Dec. 28, 1961 winning by a score of 69-59.
The Cowboys heads to the Sunshine State for the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-off. Wyoming opens the two-game tournament on Monday at 7 p.m. against Boston College with the game being televised on FS1.