In coach Larry Shyatt’s mind, there were three things that resulted in Wyoming’s 67-62 loss at Fresno State Wednesday night.
— Missed free throws. UW was 9 of 17 from the line, missed six in the second half and five straight at one point.
— Not getting to as many loose balls as Fresno State.
— Some key turnovers when trying to get to the basket.
Here is some second half highlights from the game:
It also didn’t help UW (13-7 overall, 4-3 Mountain West) that Fresno State (9-13, 2-7) shot 53.3 percent, which was the highest percentage the Cowboys have allowed this season. The Bulldogs shot 58.3 percent in the first half, and at one point was shooting around 63 percent.
Just how good was it going for Fresno State shooting-wise? Freshman guard Emmanue Owootoah had made 4 of 20 3-pointers entering the game, but made one against UW.
Still, UW clawed its way back in the second half and took a pair of two-point leads. That’s when it started to miss free throws. The result was the end of UW’s four game winning streak and the end of Fresno State’s five-game losing streak.
The Cowboys had trouble with Fresno State’s athletic guards, and UW guard Josh Adams and Nathan Sobey were a combined 6 of 16 from the floor. They also were outrebounded on the defensive glass 24-18 and fell to 0-6 when that happens.
Sobey looked to have injured a leg early in the game, but returned soon after that. On his Twitter account after the game he said: “This isn’t fun. Gotta get healthy.”
Junior guard Riley Grabau played with tape around his bruised right hand. He said it hurts after the game, but he “will survive.” Grabau played well with 14 points and was 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Grabau also made both of his free throws and has made his last 25.
Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. had a team-high 20 points. He also have five rebounds, which Nance’s five rebounds is the second-fewest he’s had this season. His previous low was three Jan. 1 against Division II Western State in a game he played a season-low 21 minutes.
Fresno State didn’t play like its record. It will win some games in the MW based on its athleticism. Young forwards Alex Davis and Paul Watson gave the Bulldogs good contributions with a combined 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Cezar Guerrero was whistled for a foul on Grabau, and then a technical foul after the two got tangled up afterwards. Shyatt said Guerrero pushed Grabau to the ground that prompted the technical. I didn’t see what happened, but some said Guerrero may have thrown a punch.
Eleven of UW’s 20 games have been decided by eight points or less, and the Cowboys fell to 5-6 in those games. They also are 0-9 all time in Fresno. No loss in conference play is good, but it is fair to say this was a bad one for UW based on where the two teams are in the standings and what looms for the Cowboys — a home game with struggling but dangerous Utah State (12-8, 2-6) Saturday and then road games at New Mexico and UNLV next week.
For more on the game, see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.