I would a liar if I said I saw that coming.
Wyoming holds No. 15 San Diego State (14th in the coaches poll) to 28.8 percent shooting and 2 of 18 from 3-point range, and finds enough ways to score for a 58-45 win in front of 9,573 fans Saturday night at the Arena-Auditorium — the largest home crowd in nearly eight years.
I thought if Wyoming had any chance to win it would have to play good defense, but I even though that’s what this team does night in and night out, I didn’t think it could score enough points.
But this isn’t the first time this team has proved me wrong.
The Cowboys clearly frustrated the Aztecs, and the more shots San Diego State missed the more the frustration mounted. Two technical fouls on San Diego State players showed that.
True freshman guard Josh Adams is rapidly becoming a defensive stopper for this team, not to mention wowing fans with athletic dunks. He set the tone early offensively with the team’s first two baskets — the second on an ally-opp dunk from sophomore guard Riley Grabau.
But Adams went toe-to-toe most of the game with San Diego state junior Jamaal Franklin — the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year. Adams gave up three inches on Franklin, but Franklin was just 3 of 14 from the field and six of his points came at the free-throw line.
Adams scored 12 points and had two assists.
UW coach Larry Shyatt said a big key in this game was defensive rebounds, and senior forward Leonard Washington and sophomore Larry Nance Jr., both had double-doubles and combined for 26 of the team’s 36 rebounds. And, every one of those rebounds were important. Nance also guarded Franklin at times, and did well.
San Diego State had nine first-half points — the lowest for any team in any half in the 14-year history of the MW. Still, UW had only 20 points at the break. The game should have been over from there, but one had the feeling San Diego State would make a run.
The closest it got was seven points with just under four minutes to play.
It hurt San Diego State that junior point guard Xavier Thames didn’t play because of a back injury. Still, the Aztecs had plenty of talent to get the job done. UW just didn’t let it happen.
Would have liked to see UW make a few more free throws in the second half (16 of 25) but it made its last six to maintain a comfortable lead.
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said UW “out-toughed” and out-efforted” his team.
A couple of other UW notes:
–Washington had a career-high five steals to go along with his eighth double-double of the season (14 points, 14 rebounds) and 14th of his career. Washington has led the team in steals in four straight games.
–Nance recorded the second double-double of the season and his career (11 points, 12 rebonds).
–UW is 2-0 this season against ranked foes, and coach Larry Shyatt is 5-1 at home against ranked teams.
A good end to a rough week for UW with the suspension and arrest of senior guard Luke Martinez and the 49-36 loss at Fresno State Wednesday. Things don’t get any easier for the Cowboys as they play at UNLV (15-4, 2-2) Thursday, and then have a quick turnaround and host Air Force (10-6, 2-2) Saturday.
Through two weeks of conference play, one team is undefeated (New Mexico at 3-0). Five teams have two wins and the other three have one.
I will ask you this: If you could erase one of UW’s two conference losses which would it be — the 63-61 home loss to Boise State or the loss at Fresno State?
For more on the game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and go to www.wyosports.net.