Wyoming men’s basketball looks to stay undefeated at home against South Dakota State
LARAMIE, Wyo. — If all goes well for the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday, two SDSU teams will pick up losses in Laramie.
Wyoming football hosts San Diego State at 1:30 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in a key cross-conference matchup, and at 7 p.m., Wyoming men’s basketball will be hosting South Dakota State in the Cowboys’ second home game of the season.
“I think this Saturday will be fun, especially with the football game and a bunch of fans here,” Wyoming junior forward Hayden Dalton said. “We’re looking forward to Saturday, for sure.”
The Cowboys are coming off a 73-72 road win against Montana in which Wyoming made a defensive stand on the final possession to secure the win.
“That was an amazing feeling,” said Dalton, who helped block the Grizzlies’ final shot. “(Head coach Allen) Edwards said after the game they tried to simulate that in practice a lot. It’s just so much different when it’s actually the game, but we did what we needed to do, and after, it was awesome.”
The Cowboys led by six points at halftime against the Grizzlies but struggled to shoot early in the second half, hitting just two of their first 16 shots out of intermission and allowing Montana to go up by as many as nine points.
“I thought their defensive intensity went up, went up and we kind of went back on our heels and starting settling for 3-point shots,” Edwards said. “I’m a big proponent in our guys shooting the 3-point shot, but not from a settling standpoint. More so from somebody putting it on the floor, getting to the paint and then kicking out and someone stepping in and one-twoing to their shot. I thought we just worked it around the perimeter and just settled a few times in that game.”
The Jackrabbits are coming off a win as well, having defeated Division-II Wayne State 80-72 after falling to California and UC-Irvine to start the season.
South Dakota State reached the NCAA Tournament last season as a No. 12 seed after winning the Summit League Tournament. The Jackrabbits, who went 26-8 in 2015-16 under Scott Nagy, fell to No. 5 Maryland in the first round of the tournament.
“Quality opponent,” Edwards said. “NCAA Tournament team.”
Nagy left for Wright State after the season, meaning, like Wyoming, South Dakota State is playing under a first-year head coach. Former Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzelberger was hired as Nagy’s replacement. The Cyclones went 23-12 last season with Otzelberger as an assistant and reached the Sweet Sixteen.
“I think it will be another good challenge for our ball club going forward,” Edwards said.
Edwards has some familiarity with sophomore Jackrabbits forward Mike Daum. Daum’s parents, Michele Daum (nee Hoppes) and Mitch Daum are former Wyoming athletes. Michele, was inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 as a basketball player. Mitch played tight end for the Cowboys.
Wyoming recruited Daum early in his high-school career, Edwards said.
Mueller to redshirt
Edwards said this week that Austin Mueller, Wyoming’s lone true freshman, will redshirt this season for the Cowboys.
Mueller, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound forward, is a two-star recruit out of ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.