This was a game I wasn’t at. Poor weather in Cheyenne kept me from getting to Laramie.
But this was a tough game for Wyoming to lose. Albeit shorthanded, the 55-53 loss to Air Force Tuesday at the Arena-Auditorium will sting for a while.
From a distance UW didn’t seem to have a lot of energy, especially in the first half. Although it didn’t look like there was a lot of energy — or people — in the A-A.
Senior guard Nathan Sobey was great: 18 points, including 14 in the second half. He scored the Cowboys’ first seven points to start the second half. Jerron Granberry scored a career-high 14 points, but was quiet in the second half and missed the front end of a one-and-one with less than two minutes to play.
Junior guard Riley Grabau and sophomore guard Josh Adams were a combined 3 of 16 from the field. UW won’t win any games the rest of the way if those two shoot like that. They also combined for six of the team’s nine turnovers (three apiece).
Shooting 9 of 17 from the free-throw line didn’t help, and that ties for the team’s worst percentage this season.
UW was outrebounded 37-29, and 29-24 on the defensive glass. The Cowboys are 1-9 when they get outrebounded in defensive boards. Even though they forced 15 turnovers the Cowboys scored just 13 points off them.
Can’t help but feel bad for junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. He rebounded the ball well with 11, and seven points is about two points above his scoring average. But he missed three dunks. I am not saying that is why UW lost, but offensively-challenged teams like UW have to make dunks.
Junior center Matt Sellers started for Cooke, and was 0 of 4 from the field and one rebound. He got good position inside a few times, but couldn’t finish. Again, when UW gets looks that close to the basket, it must finish.
Add all that up and its a tough loss for a team that appears to be reeling after losing junior forward Larry Nance Jr. to a season-ending knee injury last week and was without junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. due to suspension.
Six of UW’s 15 conference games have been decided by a single basket, and it fell to 2-4 in those games. The Cowboys also are 8-9 in games decided by eight points or less this season, and 3-5 in games decided by three points or less.
Air Force has won three straight at UW.
Can UW win any of its last three regular-season games? The first is Saturday at home against Boise State, then at Utah State next Wednesday and then at home against Colorado State a week from Saturday.
For more on the game, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.