No head coach and without one of its best guards.
That’s what Wyoming faced Wednesday night at The Pit against New Mexico. Yet, the Cowboys had a chance to win the game in regulation, but junior forward Larry Nance Jr.’s fade-away jumper in the key didn’t fall.
Not much else fell for UW in overtime in a 66-61 loss. The game was tied at 57 in regulation. The Cowboys (14-8 overall, 5-4 Mountain West) made only one basket in overtime.
Here are some video highlights from the first half. Sorry, no second half or overtime highlights because I had to re-write my story for the newspapers about six different times on a tight deadline.
Nance won games for UW in South Dakota (vs. South Dakota in Rapid City), at Boise State and at home to Nevada with last-second shots. Those shots didn’t fall in games at Nevada and now here. It was the shot the Cowboys wanted, it just didn’t go.
But despite 38 points and 23 rebounds from New Mexico’s twin towers of Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, UW played one of its gutsiest and grittiest games of the season, despite getting killed on the boards against the bigger Lobos (18-4, 9-1). New Mexico outrebounded UW 27-18 on the defensive glass and 16-4 on the offensive glass. The Lobos had 17 second-chance points to UW’s two.
Coach Larry Shyatt missed his third game as he recovers from a viral illness. Sophomore guard Josh Adams watched from the bench as he served a one-game suspension after being ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul last Saturday against Utah State.
Adams said on his Twitter account after the game he felt like he let his team down by not being able to play. Who knows what would have happened if he played, but a lot of other guys played well in his absence.
Junior Charles Hankerson Jr. started for Adams, and played well with 10 points, three rebounds and a game and career-high six assists.
Senior guard Jerron Granberry had six points, and his 3-pointer with just under a minute to play in regulation gave the Cowboys a 57-55 lead. Bairstow scored the game-tying basket.
UW got some big minutes from junior walk-on guard Jack Bentz. His stat line was all zeroes, but he didn’t hurt the team when he was in there.
Junior guard Riley Grabau continued his good shooting. He was 4 of 6 from 3-point range and is 11 of 16 over his last three games. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. had his second consecutive good game with nine points and a team-best six rebounds. Even junior center Matt Sellers saw some time, and had a nice baby hook shot in the first half. Senior guard Nathan Sobey looked like his right ankle felt better. He had 10 points, five assists and only two turnovers.
Many wondered how UW would defend New Mexico senior guard Kendall Williams without Adams, who held Williams — the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year — to 4 of 16 shooting in a 72-69 overtime loss in Laramie Jan. 8. The Cowboys played a lot of zone, but Williams was just 2 of 13 with no assists and four turnovers. Williams entered the game leading the MW in assists (5.3 per game). It was the first time he did not have an assist in a game since the Lobos’ NCAA Tournament loss to Harvard last season.
However, Williams scored 13 points. Nine of those points came at the free-throw line.
A few other notes:
–UW held New Mexico to 1 of 10 shooting from 3-point range.
–The 22 rebounds for UW was a season low, while the 43 it allowed was the most for an opponent this season. The 21-rebound deficit was the most for the Cowboys this season.
–Nance blocked four shots and has 10 in two games against New Mexico.
–There were 23 lead changes and nine ties in the game.
–UW’s 10 fast break points tied for the second most this season. The Cowboys didn’t allow any fast break points, the 12th time they have done that this season.
–UW has lost 11 straight games at The Pit, and now goes to UNLV where it has lost 11 straight at the Thomas & Mack Center.
–After the game, assistant coach Jeremy Shyatt said his dad could coach the team at UNLV, but no decision has been made yet.
For more on the game, see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net. Also check out all three for complete coverage of UW’s 2014 football recruiting class.