Top Two Scorers in MW Square Off In Wyoming at Utah State Matchup

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From the desk of Nick Seeman

Wyoming Athletic Department

The Cowboys head to Utah State on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. for a showdown with the second place Aggies, featuring Justin James of Wyoming and Sam Merrill of Utah State, the top scorers in the Mountain West.

Fans can watch, listen and follow love stats on GoWyo.com. The game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Dave Walsh and Kevin McKinney will call the action.

A Look at the Matchup

Wyoming heads into the contest with a 6-17 overall record and a 2-8 mark in the MW. The Pokes earned a wire-to-wire victory on Saturday against Colorado State downing the Rams 74-66. Wyoming shot a season-high 54 percent from behind the arc.

Wyoming has hit 28 three-pointers over the last two games connecting on 46 percent of their attempts. Wyoming has also scored 70 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time in conference play. The Pokes have been effective from the field shooting 47 percent over the last four games.

The Aggies are tied for second in the MW with Fresno State at 8-3 in conference play. The Aggies are an impressive 18-6 overall and have won seven of their last eight games. Utah State fell at San Diego State by a score of 68-63 on Saturday.

Utah State is one of the nation’s top rebounding teams. The Aggies average 40.2 per game to lead the MW and rank No. 18 in the nation. USU has a +9.2 rebound margin that ranks fifth in the nation. The Aggies share the basketball at a high rate averaging 17.3 helpers per game to lead the MW and rank No. 11 in the nation.

Each Team’s Leaders

Wyoming is led in scoring, rebounding and assists by senior guard Justin James. He leads the MW in scoring at 20.7 points per game, which ranks No. 35 in the nation. He grabs 8.6 rebounds per game for fifth in the MW and adds 4.5 assists per game for fifth in the league. He averaged 29 points and added seven rebounds and eight assists per game last week, which included a career-high 36 against Colorado State.

Junior Jake Hendricks, a native of nearby Smithfield, Utah adds 11.7 points per game. He has hit nine three pointers in his two games since returning to the Cowboy lineup. He is shooting 43 percent from behind the arc for the season. Redshirt freshman Hunter Thompson adds 10.9 points per game shooting 46 percent from the three-point line.

The Aggies are led in scoring by Merrill at 20 points per game to rank second in the MW and No. 44 in the nation. He leads the MW in total field goals made with 155. He is shooting 48 percent from the field to rank seventh in the MW. Neemias Queta adds 10.9 points per game and 9.2 rebounds. He ranks fourth in the MW in rebounding. He leads the conference and ranks No. 11 in the nation averaging 2.6 blocks per game.

About The Series

The Cowboys lead the all-time series against the Aggies 51-28 and are 17-19 in Logan. The Aggies took the first meeting this season in Laramie on Jan. 12, 71-55. The Cowboys opened the contest holding one of the Mountain West’s top shooting teams to 25 percent from the field, but a late first half surge lifted Utah State past Wyoming.

Up Next

Wyoming returns home for a Saturday evening contest at 8 p.m. against No. 6/7 Nevada in a contest airing on ESPNU.

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