They played hard, the effort was there and so was the guts and determination to make a late-game charge.
But it wasn’t enough for the Wyoming Cowboys as they lost 71-67 to UNLV in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
UW (18-14), the tournament’s fifth seed, lost its 13th straight game to UNLV in Las Vegas. It will find out late Sunday night if it plays in the postseason. It should get an invite to the CBI or CIT tournaments.
Here are some second half highlights:
Thursday’s game was a bit odd.
Sophomore guard Josh Adams carried the Cowboys in the first half. He scored 18 of his game-high 24 points then, including a dunk that had the entire crowd — about an even split of UW and UNLV fans — in awe. Adams also had seven rebounds, three assists and tied a career-high with two blocked shots.
UNLV kept Adams at bay in the second half, then it was Jerron Granberry’s turn. All of his career-high 18 points came in the second half. He scored UW’s first 10 points to start the half, and his three-point play with 23.1 seconds left pulled the Cowboys to within one at 66-65.
Senior guard Nathan Sobey also played well, and finished with 18 points. But he was 2 of 6 from the free throw line. Not blaming Sobey for the loss, but the team was 7 of 14 from the line. That hurt, especially down the stretch.
But other than maybe a few minutes late in the game, UW didn’t get all three of those guys clicking at the same time. At least I didn’t think so. Coach Larry Shyatt didn’t think that was a big deal, but for most of the game it seemed like it was all one guy or nothing for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys got no points from junior guard Riley Grabau on 0 of 3 shooting. Even though Adams and Sobey have been scoring more since junior forward Larry Nance Jr.’s season-ending knee injury on Feb. 18, Grabau has struggled. He’s playing hard, smart and a lot of minutes (38) against UNLV, but his shooting has struggled and he has not been getting as many open looks.
Just four UW players scored in the game.
UNLV didn’t play a stellar game by any means. It missed 10 free throws and some of its decision-making throughout the game was suspect.
The stat sheet said UNLV’s bench outscored UW’s 40-0. Technically, that is right, but guard Bryce Dejean-Jones and forward Roscoe Smith — normal starters — came off the bench and played starter minutes (32 minutes apiece). They combined for all of those 40 points. Dejean-Jones was coming off a suspension (perfect timing that the MW Tournament started) and even UNLV beat reporter Matt Youmans isn’t sure why Smith didn’t start.
UNLV coach Dave Rice was complimentary of UW after the game, even said Shyatt is a friend and mentor.
So now UW waits for its postseason fate. Sobey said he hopes to keep playing. Same with Granberry. Do you think UW should keep playing, or do you care if it plays in the CBI or CIT?
For more on the game, see Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net. Also see all three for a preview of the Cowgirls’ semifinal game against Colorado State, and all of your 3A/4A state basketball tournament scores and coverage.