The Wyoming basketball team starts the 2013 season on the road with a trip to face SMU on Wednesday. The Pokes have tied the best start in program history with a 12-0 record this season and are receiving votes in both polls, but the Mustangs will be a challenge for the Cowboys.
Renowned head coach Larry Brown has turned around the SMU program with a 10-4 start to his first season at the helm, including a 5-0 mark at home. Tip is set for 6 p.m. MT at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas.
ABOUT THE MUSTANGES
Sophomore guard Jalen Jones is the top Mustang at 15.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, thanks to 47 percent from the field. He is also second with 20 steals and 14 blocks.
Redshirt junior guard Nick Russell adds 14.0 points and 3.2 rebounds to go with a team-high 4.3 assists per game, while sophomore guard Ryan Manuel rounds out SMU's double-figure scorers at 12.2 points and 2.7 assists.
Sophomore center Cannen Cunningham and redshirt junior forward Shawn Williams are SMU's inside presence.
Cunningham averages a team-high 1.4 blocks to go with 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Williams contributes 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Four Mustangs scored in double figures against Furman, including 20 from freshman guard Brian Bernardi off the bench. SMU has used the same starting lineup in all 14 contests this season.
Brown took over the reins at SMU during the offseason and has helped turn the program around. The Mustangs went 13-19 overall and 4-12 in Conference USA during 2011-12, but have started this season with a 10-4 mark.
SMU raced out to an 8-1 mark, including impressive wins at TCU (64-61) and at home against Utah (62-55), but is just 2-3 in its last five contests.
The Mustangs are 5-0 at home this season and four of the five wins have come by double digits. In its latest action, SMU claimed a 72-53 home win over Furman on Sunday afternoon. The Mustangs led 38-23 at halftime and never trailed in the game.
On the offensive end of the ball, SMU averages 66.2 points per game on 44 percent from the field, 40 percent beyond the arc and 75 percent at the free throw line.
The Mustangs average 34.5 rebounds for a plus 3.9 rebounding margin and add 11.5 assists.
Defensively, SMU allows 60.4 points per game on 38 percent from the field, 32 percent beyond the arc and 70 percent at the free throw line. The Mustangs average 3.6 blocks per game, but have a minus 0.4 turnover margin.
LUKE MARTINEZ OUT
UW head coach Larry Shyatt announced Monday that Cowboy senior Luke Martinez is out indefinitely because of a fractured fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand. The injury occurred during an off-campus incident and the time line for Martinez's return is uncertain.
Shyatt said he hopes to get Martinez back sooner-than-later, though he didn't speculate on when he would return.
Riley Grabau will start in the place of Martinez against SMU, along with freshmen Josh Adams, senior Derrious Gilmore, and interior players Leonard Washington and Larry Nance, Jr.
Guard Nathan Sobey is expected to have his minutes increased with the possibility freshmen Jason McNanamen picking up playing time in the absence of Martinez.
The Pokes should eventually get Martinez back and hope a silver lining comes to fruition with more playing time and experience for Sobey and other bench players, in turn, helping develop a stronger rotation as the season moves forward.
The loss of Martinez does come at a crucial time with a tough road game at SMU Wednesday night and conference play set to start in one week.
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