There was bad blood a week ago when BYU lost to Wyoming in Laramie, and it could continue this week when the two old rivals resume their series. The teams meet Thursday in a 7:30 game at the Marriott Center.
The game will be aired live on KSL-Channel 5.Last Thursday BYU lost 72-65 in the Arena-Auditorium. The game began with Wyoming players refusing to shake hands with the Cougars. Afterward, BYU players complained about verbal abuse by their opponents and "a lack of class." The Cowboys countered by saying it was merely sour grapes, and said they weren't concerned about what BYU thought.
Other than last week's loss, the Cougars have been playing their best basketball of the season. Two weeks ago they beat Cal, UTEP and New Mexico in Provo before the loss at Wyoming. Then on Saturday the Cougars upended Utah in the Marriott Center to give them four wins in their past five games. Overall BYU is 13-13, 6-8 in the WAC, while Wyoming is 13-15 overall and 5-9 in league play. At stake is a better seeding in the conference tournament.
Wyoming followed up its win over BYU with a 62-59 loss to Colorado State. The Cowboys have been bothered all year with poor shooting, making just 44 percent from the field - the worst in the WAC. However, the bright spot in the season is the play of guard Robyn Davis, who is averaging 19.7 points a game.
The Cowboys, who are mired in eighth place in the WAC, are struggling to avoid finishing among the final two in the standings and having to play in next Wednesday's elimination game prior to the WAC tournament.
"Everyone knows how difficult this trip will be," said Wyoming Coach Benny Dees. "But you know what? I kind of like the challenge of having our destiny in our own hands. We have to win, and if we do, we can stay out of that Wednesday (elimination) game, and we deserve to stay out of it. If we don't win, then we'll probably be playing Wednesday."
BYU will attempt to cut down on turnovers, having committed 15 against Wyoming. Last week the Cowboys had eight steals against BYU. "We can't live with 15 turnovers," said BYU assistant Roger Reid. Reid also said BYU must reduce Wyoming's number of offensive rebounds.
BYU will play without the services of reserve forward John Fish, who is out with a foot injury.
Team League overall
Colorado St. 10-4 18-8
New Mexico 10-4 18-8
UTEP 9-5 20-6
Hawaii 8-6 15-10
Utah 6-8 15-14
BYU 6-8 13-13
Air Force 6-10 14-13
Wyoming 5-9 13-1
San Diego St. 4-10 12-14