UW men's basketball practice

The Cowboys get air time during a practice earlier in the year. They will get to play their first game under head coach Jeff Linder on Saturday.

LARAMIE – The University of Wyoming men’s basket-ball team opens the Jeff Linder era on Saturday afternoon hosting Mississippi Valley State in the Arena-Auditorium at 2 p.m. The contest is the first of three home contests over a five-day span.

The Cowboys return four players with all four seeing time in the starting lineup last season. Wyoming also welcomes eight newcomers, as that group ranked as the top recruiting class in the MW according to Rivals.com. Linder has posted an impressive 80-50 (.615) record in four seasons at Northern Colorado. He was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year during the 2018-19 season leading the Bears to 15 conference wins for a program record. The Bears tied that record of 15 conference wins again in the 2019-20 season. Over the last three seasons, Linder led UNC to the most wins during a three-year stretch in program history, with 69 wins. The Bears also finished in the top-100 of the NCAA NET Rankings.

The Delta Devils head into Saturday’s contest with a 0-2 overall record after falling to Arkansas in the opener 142-62 on Wednesday and dropping a 116-62 contest against North Texas on Thursday. Both contests were on the road. MVSU is allowing 129 points per game and are scoring 62 points per night. The opposition is shooting 60% from the field, as the Delta Devils are shooting 34%.

For information regarding tickets for Saturday’s game, visit GoWyo.com/Tickets; email tickets@uwyo.edu; call 307-766-7220; or stop by the UW Athletics Ticket Office on the west side of the Arena-Auditorium located on Willett Drive.

Fans can watch and listen to the contest as well as follow stats on GoWyo.com. The contest will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Reece Monaco will have the call with Kevin McKinney on color.

TEAM LEADERS

Wyoming returns three starters from last season’s squad, as Hunter Maldonado started all 33 games. Hunter Thompson started 23 games with Kwane Marble II starting 11 games. Kenny Foster started six games for the Pokes. The Cowboys return three of their top four scorers from last season. Hunter Maldonado added 15.8 points per game. Hunter Thompson and Kwane Marble II were tied for third on the team adding 8.2 points per game.

The Cowboys return nearly 50% of its scoring from last year from the four returners. That group collected 111 3-pointers on the season. The Pokes also return their top two rebounders in Hunter Maldonado at 5.8 rebounds per game and Hunter Thompson at 4.1 per game. Wyoming added seven players during the signing period. The seven signees helped the Pokes rank No. 53 in the nation and top in the Mountain West in recruiting according to Rivals.com.

MVSU heading into the season with only one returning player in Caleb Hunter. Through two games this season, Hunter is averaging nine points per game to rank fourth on the team. Treylan Smith leads the team at 13 points per game for the season. Terry Collins adds 12 points per game and leads the team with four rebounds per night.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Wyoming leads the all-time series against the Delta Devils 1-0 with the only meeting comeback in 1979. That contest was 121-62 in favor of UW and was the largest margin of victory for the Cowboys in school history.

UP NEXT

Wyoming will take on SWAC preseason favorite Texas Southern on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.

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