LARAMIE — The Wyoming men's basketball team has been a fairly confident team at home under Allen Edwards. The Cowboys return to their home court Sunday with more confidence in their ability to play away from the Arena-Auditorium.
After a four-game road trip that produced three wins, the Pokes host Division II New Mexico Highlands on Sunday (4 p.m., Mountain West Network).
Since last playing at home, the Cowboys won at Oregon State and defeated South Dakota State and Louisiana at a neutral site in the Cayman Islands Classic.
"I actually am really happy, but not satisfied," Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. "At the end of the day, there’s going to be a lot more opportunities. But one of the things we’re going into this season with was understanding that (we need to do) better away from home, while obviously continuing to do what we have done at home.
"So to go into Oregon State and get a win and then at a neutral site be able to go and get two out of the three I think is a very good thing for what we’re trying to do going forward."
Wyoming's one loss on the road trip came to No. 12 Cincinnati in the championship of the Grand Cayman Classic.
"I thought they played extremely, really, really good basketball," Edwards said. "And again, something we’ve been dealing with is injuries. ... But I think this will go down to help us more long-term because of the physicality and the talent of the program and the coaching ability of the program. I think it helps us long-term."
Wyoming (4-1) was without last year's leading scorer, Justin James, who left the previous game with a bloody mouth.
"He had to get his lip glued," Edwards said. "Could’ve played, but just, risk versus reward just wasn’t there in our minds or even in his mind. But he should be fine to play against Highlands. I don’t know how much I will play him, but he should be all ready to go for Denver."
The Cowboys from New Mexico Highlands are 5-1 this season. New Mexico Highlands tied for 10th in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference last season, going 10-17 overall and 8-14 in conference play.
"When you throw the ball up, you expect both teams to come out there and play hard to compete to win the basketball game," Edwards said. "Just knowing (head coach Craig) Snow and him as a coach and a personality, I don’t expect anything different from these guys.
"What I would like to see or have an opportunity to do is give some other guys the opportunity to get out on the floor, take a look at Brodricks Jones, take a look at Austin Mueller, Jordan Naughton and even Sam Averbuck as well. But also getting our core unit out there to get some reps as well."
Though winning obviously makes it easier to give bench players minutes, Allen doesn't want his players to take a DII team lightly, even after just playing a top-15 team.
"It’s about us," he said. "It’s about us and our process going forward. This will be no different than — we’re always talking about faceless opponents, so right now whether we’re playing Cincinnati or New Mexico Highlands, are we getting better as a program?
"Are we more consumed with the name on the front as we’re preparing, or are we concerned with just our habits for us to become a basketball program?"