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Pokes to open basketball season with game at Wyoming Indian
Jul 29, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
In a surprising announcement Friday, the University of Wyoming Cowboys men's basketball team confirmed that the Pokes will open their 2012-13 basketball season at Wyoming Indian High School in Ethete against Ft. Lewis College from Durango, Colo.
The game is set for Wednesday, Oct. 31.
The contest will be an exhibition game and will require a special waiver from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to allow the game to be played on a high school-sized basketball court that is 90-feet long instead of the normal NCAA length of 94 feet, according to Matt Whisenant, UW deputy athletics director.
"I don't know the last time that the men's basketball team played outside of Laramie or Casper. We've made a concerted effort the last number of years getting our teams out, like wrestling, volleyball and swimming.
"Our goal is to push our outreach. Being able to do this is really exciting and will be a great event. We are not aware of any Division I institution that is doing what we are doing and will be fortunate enough to play where we are going to get to play. We are so excited about it," Whisenant said.
The University has said that this game will not be part of the season ticket package. UW hopes to make approximately 3,000 tickets available to the general public beginning Monday, Oct. 1, through the UW Ticket Office. Cost for the game will be $10 for adults and $5 for children 18 and younger.
The event is expected to be a sellout and is a collaboration between the Cowboys and the Nike N7 program.
"Our program is very excited to partner with the efforts of the Nike N7 program," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "One of our most important goals in the upcoming years is to rebuild our strong relationship with our fan base throughout the state. This is the first step of what we hope is reaching out to all Cowboy fans in Wyoming for the seasons to come."
One of the hardest issues was to find a venue that could support the Wyoming NCAA Division I program, and when UW teamed with N7, the gym at Wyoming Indian High School, the largest high school gym in Wyoming, immediately came to the forefront.
"To find a venue makes it tough.
Ethete has a great facility. We'll have to get shot clocks up there and paint a (college) 3-point line. When we teamed up with N7, that was our focal point to get it done," Whisenant said.
According to a UW release, Nike N7 is Nike's commitment to bring sport and all of its benefits to American Indian and Aboriginal communities across North America."
The Wyoming team will visit the Wyoming Indian Elementary school on the day of the game.
Radio play-by-play announcer Dave Walsh and color man Kevin McKinney are expected to broadcast the game, and the University is looking at logistics to bring the Wyoming cheerleaders and potentially the UW band to the game.
"It's a safe bet to say our cheerleaders and Pistol Pete will be there.
For all intents and purposes it will be like a game in the Double-A (Arena-Auditorium, Wyoming's normal home court in Laramie) except it will be in Ethete in front of a capacity crowd," Whisenant said.