UW sports live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s weekly live chat on University of Wyoming on Thursday, March 5.

Some great stuff on UW men’s basketball after its 76-53 win over Utah State Wednesday, as well as looking ahead to Saturday’s game at New Mexico and next week’s Mountain West Tournament.

There also was some UW football and women’s basketball chatter.

For more UW and high school sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

Wyoming 76, Utah State 53: 3 takes, notes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 76-53 victory over Utah State Wednesday night.

1. That’s more like it: UW played better defense as the 53 points was the second-lowest point total its allowed in Mountain West play this season. Utah State shot a respectable 45.8 percent, but was just 6 of 18 from 3-point range. The Cowboys forced 11 turnovers and scored 15 points off those mistakes. The Cowboys also didn’t allow any second-chance points, and held a 30-21 rebounding edge. The Cowboys did a good job of going after Utah State redshirt freshman forward David Collette, who had 10 points in 5 of 6 shooting, but he wasn’t much of a factor in the game. The Cowboys never trailed in the game. This was the UW team many fans were used to seeing much of this season.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

2. Nifty Nance: Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. had his seventh double-double of the season and 18th of his career with 21 points and 10 rebounds — both game highs. But what stood out about Nance’s game was his ability to hit short to mid-range jumpers. Seven of his nine baskets were jumpers, which Utah State was willing to give him. If Nance can continue to hit those shots, he becomes much more difficult to defend. Perhaps it was the emotion of senior night, but Nance looked more like the preseason player of the year in the MW in this game, and looked like he is on the tail end of recovering from mononucleosis — good news for the Cowboys as tournament time approaches.

Here are some second half highlights — along with some special events late and after the game — along with the post-game interview session with all five UW seniors:

Continue reading

UW vs. Utah State men’s basketball: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming’s regular-season home-finale against Utah State, which starts at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Riley Grabau

Riley Grabau

1. Perimeter defense: UW has lost four of its last six games, and in all of those losses they’ve allowed 10 3-pointers three times, and 11 in last Saturday’s loss at UNLV. Utah State shoots about 40 percent from behind the arc, and will have three or four guys on the floor most of the time that shoots between 40 and 50 percent. The Cowboys must do a better job defending the perimeter because if Utah State gets hot from long range, they will be in for a long night.

“Yeah, I think we’re a little out of rhythm. I think we getting back to where we were at the start of the year. We need to get tougher on the defensive end. Coach (Larry Shyatt) said we need to get tougher on the defensive end and I agree with him, we do.” — UW senior guard Riley Grabau

Here is my video preview of the game:

Continue reading

UW-Utah State men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Shawn Harrison, who covers Utah State men’s basketball for the Herald Journal in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @HJNews

 

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

The Aggies are the hottest team in the Mountain West having won six straight. What has clicked over the last few weeks for them to play such good basketball?

I think it just took time for this young, inexperienced group to get used to one another. The win at New Mexico — even though the Lobos have been struggling — seemed to give the Aggies a big dose of confidence. Since then, they have just carried themselves differently and it shows on the court. Utah State has been shooting the ball a lot better and also getting help from the bench.

Sophomore wing Jalen Moore and redshirt freshman forward David Collette have garnered a lot of attention for Utah State — as they should. But who else has perhaps gone under the radar but been a big factor in the Aggies’ success this season?

Point guard Darius Perkins and true freshman Julion Pearre have had some big games scoring, but the most steady guy behind Moore and Collette is Chris Smith. The junior college transfer seems to hit big shots when the Aggies need one. Smith also does more than score. The guard is averaging 12.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game. In conference games, he is shooting 54 percent from the field and has made 51 percent of his 3-point shots.

Continue reading

MW men’s basketball power rankings and picks

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings heading into the final week of the regular season, along with predictions on this week’s games.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback/opinions.

1. Boise State (22-7 overall, 12-4 Mountain West): Completed a regular-season sweep of San Diego State with a road win Saturday. The Broncos have won 13 of their last 14 games and will likely be the top seed at the MW Tournament.

2. San Diego State (22-7, 12-4): The Aztecs fall based on their home loss to Boise State. Still one of the best teams in the league, but must find more offense as the postseason approaches.

3. Colorado State (24-5, 11-5): Tied for third place with red-hot Utah State, and must play the Aggies on the road Saturday. Four of five losses this season have come on the road.

4. Utah State (18-10, 11-5): Aside from Boise State, the Aggies may be the best team in the MW right now as they’ve won six straight. This team can defend, has a post presence down low and has multiple guys that can shoot the ball. Watch out for them in the postseason.

Continue reading

3 takes on UW’s 67-59 loss to UNLV; with VIDEO

My three takes from Wyoming’s 69-57 loss at UNLV Saturday night:

1. Getting away from what got them here: UW won 21 games by playing good defense, but the first thing coach Larry Shyatt said after the game was that the Cowboys focused more on scoring than getting stops against the Rebels. UNLV was 11 of 19 from 3-point range — 6 of 10 in the second half. Some of those shots were contested, but too many were not. Shyatt didn’t have many answers for why, but UW better figure it out or it could lose its final two games of the regular season this week — home for Utah State Wednesday and at New Mexico Saturday.

Here is Shyatt after the game:

2. Early turnovers: The Cowboys committed nine turnovers in the first half, and looked a lot like it did in its 64-59 home loss to Fresno State on Wednesday. There were some sloppy passes, some good defense by UNLV, but too many unforced errors by the Cowboys. To their credit, they had only three turnovers in the second half. However, UNLV scored 15 points off UW’s turnovers. The Cowboys are not good enough to give anyone in this league that many extra possessions and points.

Continue reading

UW-UNLV men’s basketball: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for the Wyoming men’s basketball team in its game at UNLV, which starts at 6 p.m. today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

1. Pick and choose: Meaning when UW wants to get into transition and drive to the basket, or even when it drives to the basket in its half-court offense, the Cowboys must be smart as UNLV is fourth in the nation with 6.9 blocked shots per game. “Those are turnovers. They block a shot that goes in bounds, that’s no different than  a dropped ball,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “You have to pick and choose when you attack the rack and look for inside out drop-offs. They really have a presence in the paint.”

That presence includes 6-foot-11 sophomore Christian Wood (2.9 bpg) and 6-10 freshman Goodluck Okonoboh (2.8 bpg). Okonoboh is the Mountain West record holder for blocked shots by a freshman with 74.

Here is my video preview of the game:

Continue reading

UW-UNLV men’s basketball Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Matt Youmans, who covers UNLV men’s basketball for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tipoff is at 6 p.m. MT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Follow on Twitter: @mattyoumans247

Matt Youmans

Matt Youmans

In your wildest imagination did you ever see the season go as it has for UNLV at 15-13 and 6-9 in the league?

In my wild imagination, if the season turned into a debacle for the Rebels, they could finish fifth in the conference. It appeared to be a team too talented to slip below fifth in a mediocre conference. I always was high on San Diego State, Colorado State and Wyoming, so I had UNLV finishing third or fourth. The Rebels’ upset of Arizona in December fooled some of us who were impressed with this team’s talent and potential. But that said and all excuses aside, to finish seventh or eighth is just ridiculous.

 

Injuries have played a factor in the struggles, but what else has led to the team’s shortcomings this season?

The Rebels were starting to put things together before the Rashad Vaughn injury. Still, that’s an excuse, too, because they lost six of seven games from Dec. 31 to Jan. 21 with Vaughn in the lineup. UNLV has come up short in most close games, and part of that is young players failing to execute and learning how to win, and part of that is the coaches not making the right moves. For a variety of reasons, it’s not a good defensive team. You always can find a few stats that say the defense is solid. But a good defensive team does not allow 51 points in the second half to Air Force or 48 points in the second half to Utah State, etc. A consistently good offensive team does not score 48 points in a home loss to Boise State. This team never has developed a real identity, and that’s a big problem.

Continue reading

UW sports live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s weekly live chat on University of Wyoming sports on Thursday, Feb. 26.

For more UW and high school sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

3 takes from Wyoming’s 64-59 loss to Fresno State

Here are my three takes from Wyoming’s 64-59 home loss to Fresno State Wednesday night at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. The better team — on this night — won: As UW coach Larry Shyatt said — along with the players — Fresno State beat the Cowboys based on the fact UW had 14 turnovers (compared to 13 in its previous two games), was outrebounded 12-6 on the offensive glass and made only 8 of 13 free throws in the second half. That pretty much sums it up. Fresno State, one of the top teams in the nation in steals, had eight in the game. It turned 14 turnovers into 17 points, and those 12 offensive rebounds into 15 points. I also thought what Shyatt said was accurate about how this game was a lot like several others UW played this season — especially in conference play. Close late in the game, but more often than not, UW made the plays down the stretch to win. In this game, it didn’t.

Here is Shyatt after the game:

Continue reading