Defensive Showdown on Tap

Jan. 15, 2013

NOTES: Fresno State to Battle Wyoming Wednesday Night

By Andrew Rich

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State men's basketball team returns to the Save Mart Center Wednesday night to take on Wyoming. The Mountain West game will be the first between the two former Western Athletic Conference foes since a Bulldog victory in 1997.

The `Dogs will be back at full-strength Wednesday night after playing without Kevin Foster (death of his grandfather) and Tyler Johnson (ankle) in Saturday's loss at New Mexico.

Johnson, who injured his ankle early in the game against then-No. 16/15 San Diego State last week, has been the most productive Bulldog of late. Over the past eight games, Johnson has been the team's leading scorer, pouring in 13.9 points a game to go along with 4.7 rebounds.

"It is tough sitting out any game and you can't go out there and physically help your team," Johnson said.

Wednesday's game will feature two of the conference's top defensive units. The Cowboys lead the conference in scoring defense at 54.7 points per game, while the `Dogs are third at 60.4. The game will also showcase the conference's top shot blockers in Fresno State's Robert Upshaw and Wyoming's Leonard Washington.

"One of the better players in the league coming in," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said of Washington. "He is a handful to deal with on both ends of the floor."

The Cowboys come to Fresno with a 14-1 record and are receiving votes in both top 25 polls. Wyoming was one of the last undefeated teams in the country until falling victim of a buzzer-beater last week against Boise State in its MW opener. They rebounded Saturday with a 49-38 win at Nevada. Washington, along with being Wyoming's best defensive player, is also the leader on offense. The 6-7 senior forward leads the Cowboys with 14.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

"We got to play hard, we know they are a good team because they are 14-1, but they aren't 14-1 for no reason," Bulldogs' freshman guard Aaron Anderson said. "We just got to continue to play hard and do what coach says."

The `Dogs are looking to improve in certain facets of the game and will have to in order to secure a first Mountain West victory on Wednesday night.

"We've got to do a better job rebounding," Terry said. "We've got to execute and take care of the ball and we have to do a good job of defending these guys because they are a really good offensive team."

"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Fresno State's 4-Game Flex Mini-Plan starts as low as $14 per game and can be purchased by calling 559-278-DOGS (Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.) or visiting The flagship radio stations for Fresno State men's basketball are KMJ 580 AM (English) and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM (Spanish).