Wyoming allowed only 23 points in the first half against UNLV, its lowest total in league play. The Rebels made only nine field goals and were 2 of 14 from 3-point range.
But in the second half UNLV shot 65.6 percent (21 of 32), outscored UW 51-34 and won 74-65.
How did UW go from being so good to so bad? Because of the end of the floor they were on.
“A lot of it was us not communicating (defensively), and in the second half we were on defense toward (UNLV’s) bench and we don’t have coach there and our bench there helping us out on defense,” junior point guard JayDee Luster said. “We need to communicate that much more on defense and we didn’t do that.”
This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard a UW player say this about a poor defensive effort. It’s a little surprising to me at this point of the season this is still an issue. Coach Heath Schroyer acknowledged it, and was careful how he described his thoughts on it.
“It’s been a real issue for us all year,” he said. “A lot of times in the first half I’m there and I can call out everything and what’s coming. In the second half I’m not there, and this team hasn’t figured out or isn’t mature enough yet to really go out in the second half and be able to do that. I think JayDee was right in that was a big difference.”
A few notes from the game:
–UW’s nine turnovers tied for the third-fewest this season.
–Sophomore forward Amath M’Baye’s 13 points put him in double figures for the fourth straight game.
–Luster had a season-high eight assists, and his only turnover came late in the second half.
–All five UW starters scored before the first media timeout of the game.