Wyoming was close to beating No. 17 UNLV here at the Thomas & Mack Center, but foul trouble, turnovers and missed shots late cost the Cowboys in a 74-63 loss Saturday night.
The 11-point loss matches UW’s most lopsided (if you consider 11 points lopsided) of the season.
The Cowboys have played the three best teams in the MW, San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV, to nine points, 10 points and 11 points on the road. The SDSU game went into overtime and UW beat UNLV in Laramie.
They are close to beating these teams. We will see how much closer Thursday when the Cowboys and Rebels play again in the quarterfinals of the MW Tournament at 9:30 p.m.
This game was odd in terms of fouls — 46 in all.
Senior point guard JayDee Luster fouled out after getting a technical foul. Senior center Adam Waddell fouled out and junior forward Leonard Washington, and senior guard Francisco Cruz and Arthur Bouedo each had four.
Washington about got a technical after he picked up his fourth foul early in the second half.
Fans here didn’t like many of the calls, and you could tell coach Larry Shyatt didn’t like a lot of the calls on his guys.
Liked the way Cruz played offensively with 16 points and 4 of 4 from 3. But he couldn’t catch up to UNLV senior guard Kendall Wallace — hampered by a bad knee all season — on back-to-back 3s in the second half. UW cut the UNLV lead to 50-47 prior to Wallace’s heroics. Cruz fouled Wallace on the second one and the lead was back to 10.
Liked the play of true freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. with eight points and seven rebounds. He made his second 3 of the season, and no, he didn’t have to call “bank” like his first at San Diego State.
Will be interesting to see how these two teams play Thursday in the rematch. Sophomore forward Mike Moser made his case for Player of the Year in the league with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Four UNLV players scored in double figures. UW needs to do a better job inside against Moser and senior Brice Massamba, who had 15 points.
Keeping Waddell and Washington out of foul trouble would help. However, Waddell was impressive as he drew three charges.
See Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for more on the game, and see Monday’s Tribune Eagle for what coach Larry Shyatt said about playing UNLV twice on its home floor in less the week heading into the conference tournament.