UW-San Diego State postgame thoughts

Wyoming is 2-for-2 when it comes to beating a nationally ranked San Diego State team at home.

The Cowboys shot the ball well and played their normal good defense in a 68-62 win over the fifth-ranked Aztecs in front of a loud and happy crowd of 5,801 fans at the Arena-Auditorium Tuesday night in Laramie.

Last season, UW beat No. 15 San Diego State 58-45 in Laramie.

The student section at Tuesday’s game was great, and it the students stormed the court after the game. Some may debate if storming the court is good or even worthy, but in this instance it was.

Here is some video highlights, including the court storming:

Once UW switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone early in the game, San Diego State couldn’t shoot over it. The Aztecs shot 37.9 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from 3-point range.

The Cowboys shot 57.9 percent, the 12th time this season it has shot 50 percent or better from the field. Fifteen of their 22 baskets were layups or dunks. Both teams made 22 baskets and San Diego State attempted 20 more shots.

That’s because the Aztecs held a 21-4 advantage on the offensive glass, and scored 26 second-chance points. But it wasn’t enough as UW also made 19 free throws (compared to 13 for San Diego State).

UW got a lot of national recognition from this game, which was televised on ESPNU. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.’s one-handed dunk off a pass from junior forward Larry Nance Jr. was voted as the top play on ESPN’s SportsCenter Tuesday night. ESPN cameras captured Shyatt talking to his team in the locker room after the game, and he said on TV was the same thing he said in his postgame interview session with the media.

Here’s what Nance, Grabau and junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. said after the game:

“This is the best team I’ve ever been with off the court, in the classroom and on the court,” he said.

And like it has in many of its games, UW got a lot of contributions from a lot of different players.

Nance was good again with 14 points, six rebounds three blocked shots, two assists and a steal. Junior guard Riley Grabau led all scorers with 17 points. And, UW got nine points apiece from senior guard Nathan Sobey and Charles Hankerson Jr, and seven from Cooke and sophomore guard Josh Adams. Senior guard Jerron Granberry had a big blocked shot late. Even junior walk-on guard Jack Bentz did well. In his lone minute of action, he had one assist.

There were some tense moments late as San Diego State cut a 16-point second half lead to four with just over a minute to play. The Cowboys had some key turnovers, but always seemed to have an answer.

Here is Shyatt’s interview after the game:

Some other notes from the game:

–NBA scouts from the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs were at the game.

–UW held San Diego State to zero fast break points, and has done that seven times in 11 league games.

–The highest ranked team to ever play at the Arena-Auditorium was No. 5 — San Diego State in this game and Utah in 1998.

–UW is 11-12 against ranked foes at the A-A, 27-29 against ranked foes all-time at home and has won 10 of the last 16 dating back to the 1995-96 season.

–All-time, UW is 32-119 vs. ranked teams.

–This was the Cowboys’ first Tuesday game this season, and will play two more Tuesday games over the next two weeks.

–With three blocked shots, Nance has 95 for his career which is tied for seventh in UW history with Fennis Dembo and Djibril Thiam.

–Grabau has found his hot hand from 3-point range again. He was 4 of 8 against the Aztecs and is 24 of 49 over his last six games. He also has made 35 straight free throws going back to Nov. 22.

At 15-9 overall and 6-5 in the Mountain West, UW goes from playing the best team in the MW in San Diego State (21-2, 10-1) to playing the last-place team in San Jose State (6-17, 0-11) on the road Saturday. Shyatt said the players will have Wednesday off (UW has to take one day off per week per NCAA rules) and will return to practice Thursday. Shyatt wants his team to enjoy this win for now, but not for long.

I think a lot of people will enjoy this win for a while.

For more on the game, go to wyosports.net.

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