Defensive-minded Wyoming opens Diamond Head action vs. Stanford
Wyoming and Stanford rekindle a rivalry 41 years later when the Western teams head even farther west across the Pacific Ocean for an opening-round matchup in the Diamond Head Classic on Wednesday afternoon in Honolulu.
The eight-team event continues Thursday, with the Wyoming-Stanford winner taking on the Northern Iowa-Liberty winner. The two losers will also face off.
BYU, South Florida, Vanderbilt and Hawaii round out the field.
The trip comes between two home games for the Cowboys (9-1), whose only loss came on the road against a Pacific-12 Conference team — sixth-ranked Arizona — earlier this month.
Wyoming rebounded to handle Utah Valley 74-62 at home on Saturday, with Utah transfer Brandan Wenzel contributing 12 points off the bench.
Wenzel insisted afterward it wasn’t the Wyoming offense that has led to the splashy record this season.
“(Defense) was mentioned every single day at practice,” he said of the team’s emphasis this season. “It’s just building those habits to focus on what you need to work on every day at practice.”
Other than allowing 94 points at Arizona, the Cowboys have held every opponent under 70 points in regulation play. The other team to score more than 66 was Washington, another Pac-12 opponent, which fell to Wyoming 77-72 in overtime on Nov. 18.
Meanwhile, Stanford (6-4) held then-17th-ranked Texas to 60 points in a matchup in Las Vegas on Sunday but couldn’t muster up enough points to avoid a seven-point defeat.
The Cardinal hurt themselves with 22 turnovers that the Longhorns turned into 23 points. Stanford also made just 4 of 16 3-points as part of a 41.7 percent shooting effort.
Stanford coach Jerod Haase wrote the loss off as just a small bump in a long road.
“We lost to a very, very good basketball team, very talented,” he said. “I think they’ll be labeled an elite defensive team by the end of the year.”
Freshman Harrison Ingram paced the Cardinal in the loss with 15 points.
Well before any of the current players were born, Wyoming won the most recent head-to-head between the schools, 73-51 at home in December 1980.
–Field Level Media