LARAMIE — On paper, the Wyoming men’s basketball team has a smooth start to the 2017-18 season. The Cowboys are 5-1 with their one loss coming to Cincinnati, now the ninth-ranked team in the country per the coaches’ poll.
But the Cowboys aren’t feeling content.
“I mean, we’re definitely not upset, but we’re definitely not satisfied, either,” junior Justin James said. “Obviously, we want to be 6-0, ... but we’ve just got to find a way to get a win. We never want to lose, so we’re not going to say that that’s OK. But we’re happy with where we’re at.”
One of the things Wyoming has done well early is win games away from home. The Cowboys hope to continue that Wednesday at Denver (7 p.m., Altitude 2).
“Heading into Denver, Drake and even South Carolina, this three-game stint in seven days should be a good sign for what we’re capable of doing as a team,” head coach Allen Edwards said. “And I’m not talking wins and losses but just always in the process of getting better, this is going to be another thing to test our mental focus, physical contribution to the game and how in-tune we are, especially with two of them being on the road.”
The Cowboys were 3-11 in true road games last season. Wyoming’s one true road game this season was a win at Oregon State.
“I thought last year, not to put anything off on saying it was a trial run, but we were just focusing on getting better as a team, and we struggled with going on the road,” Edwards said. “And not to the sense of playing bad, we just didn’t come out with the right outcome. Because we lost a few games in the last few minutes of games.
“... We obviously did a pretty good job here at home. We want to continue to do that but a little bit better of a focus of understanding how important it is to be able to go in and get some of those games. We’re not naive to think that we’re just going to go 32-0, but we don’t want to not ever win on the road, because when you’re talking about teams that compete beyond the season, you’re talking about teams that can win on the road.”
The Pioneers, who tied for fourth in the Summit League last season, have begun this season 2-4.
“They’ve just had a rough schedule,” Edwards said. “Obviously they played (Colorado), and then they were down in the Florida Gulf Coast tournament. So it wasn’t like they were playing easy competition.”
Wyoming and Denver have played each other 155 times, including every season this century. Wyoming leads the series 104-50 and has won three straight.
Denver is led by Daniel Amigo and Joe Rosga, who have both averaged 16.8 points per game.
“I think those two are the two-headed monster with this team,” Edwards said, “and I think that both of those guys have taken a leap as far as getting better as players. I thought both of them really had good years last year, but just even going into this year, I think both of them are still setting that tone.”
After playing the Pioneers, Wyoming hosts Drake on Saturday. Then the Cowboys play Dec. 6 at South Carolina.
One benefit for Wyoming on Wednesday is that it can play in a road environment without actually having to travel all that far.
“It’s fun, and it gives you a good chance to show what your team’s about and stuff like that, because you’re not at home and you’re not comfortable,” junior Nyaires Redding said. “The fact that it’s only two hours away and it’s a drive and you don’t have to go through the airport or anything like that is a plus as well.”
Said James: “The only thing I remember is it’s a really cold arena.”