In last Saturday’s loss to UNLV, Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt said he didn’t think his team displayed the type of energy and effort it has showed all season.
After Tuesday’s 72-66 road loss to Air Force, Shyatt had more critical words for his guys.
“That was one of the most embarrassing defensive performances that I’ve been a part of in 40 years as a head coach or an assistant — at any level,” he said. “I thought the game was won and lost on that end of the floor.
“I don’t want to point fingers, but I will compliment (Air Force’s) attack. I thought there was some trying, but not enough.”
Two straight games, two straight losses and two major concerns for UW. At 18-10 overall and 4-10 in the Mountain West, UW is now just 5-10 since its 13-0 start. Boy, does that seem like a long time ago. Is that frustration starting to catch up to the Cowboys? Perhaps.
Air Force became the second second team (San Diego State) to score more than 70 points against UW. The Falcons shot 51 percent from the field, scored 30 points in the paint — including 13 layups.
The Cowboys held senior guard Michael Lyons, the Mountain West’s leading scorer, to 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting. But sophomore guard Kamryn Williams came off the bench and scored a game and career-high 25 points and also had 10 rebounds. He made 9-of-13 shots, 2-of-3 from 3-point range and all five of his free throws. Williams averaged 2.7 points per game coming into the game.
UW’s top scorer was from its bench as junior guard Nathan Sobey had a career-high 22 points on 7-of-7 shooting. He made all six of his 3-pointers. Great to see him shoot the ball so well, but he got only two shots in the second half. UW had just eight shots in the final 7 minutes, 8 seconds of the game.
Senior forward Leonard Washington started and had his fourth straight double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. But his defense wasn’t as good — nor was the entire team’s. UW also didn’t draw any charges, although it tried, and that didn’t help matters.
What really hurt UW? Senior point guard Derrious Gilmore was held scoreless and was 0-of-11 from the field. He had a game-high five assists, but he has got to score for this team to win.
Frustration boiled over some at the end of the game as it looked like Washington and Lyons exchanged some words after the final buzzer. Washington declined to talk to the media afterwards.
Sophomore forward Derek Cooke Jr., left in the first half with what looked like a leg injury. He returned, but played only seven minutes. True freshman forward Austin Haldorson tied a career-high with 15 minutes of action and had two points and three rebounds. Some good minutes for him.
But in the end, it was another loss for UW. The offense was there for about 33 of the 40 minutes, but the defense wasn’t. Now the Cowboys get to go and play the best team in the MW in No. 14 New Mexico on Saturday.