It was not the best game that was played in the Arena-Auditorium as we know it, but it was exciting and for Wyoming as it beat Border War rival Colorado State 83-75 Saturday.
This was the last game in the current configuration of the A-A. Starting Monday it will receive a $30 million renovation.
A lot of streaks were broken with this victory. UW (18-13, 9-9) snapped a four-game losing streak and a four-game slide to the Rams (16-15, 7-11).
But more importantly, the Cowboys finished .500 in conference play for the first time since 2004-05. Coach Larry Shyatt talked a lot about that in his post-game news conference after the game and that he liked to silence those who doubted this team.
Here is what Shyatt had to say:
A San Diego State home win over New Mexico Saturday night will give UW a fourth or fifth-place finish and earn it a first-round bye a the MW Tournament next week in Las Vegas. Not a bad place to be for a team that lost its leader in junior forward Larry Nance Jr..
One has to wonder what could have been had Nance not suffered that season-ending knee injury on Feb. 18. Some wondered if UW would win another game without Nance.
It did thanks to a career-high 33 points from senior guard Nathan Sobey. He was fantastic, but so was sophomore guard Josh Adams. He had 22 points — his third straight game of more than 20 points — but at 6-2 had eight rebounds, seven assists, two blocked shots and no turnovers. And, the dunk he had in the second half that seemed to switch the momentum back toward the Cowboys was incredible.
But to me, two key players were junior walk-on guard Jack Bentz and sophomore forward Austin Haldorson. With starting guards Riley Grabau and Jerron Granberry in foul trouble throughout the game, Bentz played a career-high 22 minutes. He had four assists, no turnovers and made a shot near the end of the half.
Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. also had foul trouble, but has had a decent game with 14 points and four rebound before he fouled out. Cooke missed two point-blank shots inside, which seems to be common for him these days, but he played well. Anyway, Haldorson played a career-high 20 minutes and had five points and two blocked shots. By far the best and most meaningful minutes he’s played in his UW career.
Here are some highlights and player interviews:
It was an odd game with 56 fouls called — 28 on each team. Colorado State’s top three scorers — J.J. Avila, Daniel Bejarano and Joe De Ciman — all fouled out in the second half.
UW and Colorado State each had 24 defensive rebounds. That was huge for the Cowboys, who have been outrebounded badly both on the offense and defensive glass since Nance’s injury. UW had 31 rebounds, which was its most since Nance’s injury.
The Rams were hurt (no pun intended) when its best post presence, senior Gerson Santo left the game early with what appeared to be a hand injury. He was in a sling and didn’t return after playing only five minutes.
A few other notes from the game:
–UW’s 44 first-half points were a season-high in league play.
–The Cowboys’ 18 assists were the second-most this season, and most in a MW game.
–All 10 players who were available for UW played.
–Sobey has averaged 18.6 points per game over his last six contests, and his 33 points ties him for the 11th-most in A-A history.
–Sobey’s 33 and Adams’ 21 marks the first time two UW players scored more than 20 points in a game since Nance and point guard Derrious Gilmore did it last season.
So what do you think folks, does this win give UW some momentum going into the MW Tournament next week? Can it make a run there, and do you think it will play in the postseason after that. Shyatt thinks so, but do you and what tournament do you think?
Let me know, and for more on the game see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.