Being nationally ranked didn’t last long for the Wyoming men’s basketball team.
It can thank Boise State junior guard Jeff Elorriaga for that.
Elorriaga made two 3-pointers in the final minute of the game, including his last at the buzzer to hand UW its first loss of the season, 63-61, at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie Wednesday night.
This game came down to 3-point shooting — for Boise State. It leads the MW at 41.3 percent from 3 as a team. Elorriaga led the league in 3-pointers made (46) and shooting percentage (48.4).
Elorriaga was 6 of 10 from behind the arc and Boise State was 11 of 19 as a team.
I was surprised UW didn’t put Boise State away, especially since the Broncos didn’t have four players who were suspended for a violation of team rules and didn’t make the trip. One of them was sophomore guard and leading scorer Derrick Marks.
UW had a 45-25 lead with 11:26 to play. Didn’t see it blowing that lead.
But Elorriaga, sophomore wing Anthony Drmic (18 points) and sophomore guard Igor Hadziomerovic (11 points) stepped up big time.
UW couldn’t get the ball inside at all in the first half. Senior forward Leonard Washington had just one point at the break, and sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr., and zero points.
The Cowboys were better at getting the ball inside in the second half. I was surprised they had as much trouble as they did. Boise State was good in its zone and doubled-down well.
Boise State outscored UW 24-14 in the paint. Didn’t see that coming.
Washington nearly pulled the same heroics he did at SMU on Jan. 2. He led a big comeback with UW down seven and less than three minutes to play. Five straight points, drew a charge.
It wasn’t enough.
I thought true freshman Josh Adams showed great poise making two free throws with 9.1 seconds to play to give UW a 61-60 lead. I thought sophomore guard Riley Grabau did the same with 44 seconds left.
It just wasn’t enough.
This loss stings for UW, and was unexpected by many. How the team responds will be interesting. We can talk about this more Thursday during the weekly live chat that starts at 3 p.m. See the blog or www.wyosports.net for the link, and see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Laramie Boomerang and wyosports.net for more coverage from the game.