Pokes open up exhibition season tonight with Northwest Nazarene
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowboys host Northwest Nazarene in their lone exhibition of the season on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. Fans can come see the Pokes for a special price of $5.
Fans can watch, listen to the contest and follow stats on GoWyo.com. The contest will be streamed on the MW Network. The exhibition will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Dave Walsh and Kevin McKinney will call the action.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming returns four starters and eight letter winners from last season and also added six newcomers with two junior college transfers and four high school talents.
Wyoming returns 57 percent of its scoring from a season ago. The Pokes also return 56 percent of its rebounding from last season. In fact, Wyoming returns three of its top four scorers from last season, Justin James, Wyoming’s leader last season was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.
Northwest Nazarene returns seven letter winners from last season’s team that finished 20-8 overall and 14-6 in the GNAC. A highly offensive team, the Nighthawks averaged 84.5 points per game last season and shot 50 percent from the field. Northwest Nazarene allowed 80.3 points per game and allowed opponents to shoot 42 percent from the field.
Each Team’s Leaders
The eight returning players for the Pokes bring plenty of experience, as six of the eight returners played 20 or more minutes per game and no other returning averaged less than four minutes per night. That group also combined for 163 triples for the season, which was two-thirds of the Pokes’ three pointers last season.
Redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado appeared in only eight games, but was second on the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 13.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds.
Other starters returning include senior guard Jake Hendricks, as he averaged 10.8 points per game for the season connecting on 67 three pointers to lead the team. Sophomore Hunter Thompson added 8.8 points per game and 2.9 rebounds, as he hit 39. Sophomore Trevon “TJ” Taylor added 6.4 points per game and 3.1 rebounds in 22 starts.
Other returners include senior guard A.J. Banks, as he added 5.2 points per game including averaging 11.7 points per game in the final five games of the season. Sophomore forward Brandon Porter added 2.5 points per game and fellow forward Austin Mueller is returning from injury, but he added 3.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds. Sophomore Haize Fornstrom added 1.3 points per game after joining the team during conference play.
The Nighthawks’ top returner is guard Jayden Bezzant, as he averaged 13.1 points per game and added 55 assists. He came off the bench last season starting only eight games. Forward Olamilekan Adetunji averaged 5.5 points per game, but led the team adding 6.2 rebounds per game.
About The Series
Wyoming and Northwest Nazarene will meet for the very first time on Wednesday evening.
Wyoming opens the regular season on Tuesday evening against Idaho State in the Arena-Auditorium in a 7 p.m. start.