Two things stood out to me in Wyoming’s 57-39 victory over Southern Saturday in Laramie: the play of senior walk-on point guard Jack Bentz, along with the energy and play of senior forward Derek Cooke Jr.
The Cowboys (10-2) were without senior starting point guard Riley Grabau (hamstring) and redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon (back and chest). UW got off to somewhat of a slow start with six turnovers over the first nine minutes.
But when Bentz came in, there were no more turnovers and UW went on a 16-6 run to end the half. More on Bentz in my game story in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net.
Cooke finished with 14 points, a season-high eight rebounds and tied career-highs with three assists and three steals. In the second half he pulled down a rebound and dribbled coast-to-coast for a dunk that had the sparse crowd at the A-A excited.
Cooke joked that he’s a point-forward, but junior guard Josh Adams quicky said he’s not joking but that Cooke — more often than not — makes the right decision and gets the ball to a guard after a rebound.
But Bentz chimed in with: “He’s taking our point guard spot.”
Here is Cooke, Adams and Bentz after the game:
Adams also had an impressive one-handed dunk as he drove through the middle of the lane. Adams scored a game-high 16 points. He was 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Coming into the game he was 8 of 28 and four of those makes came in the season-opener more than a month ago.
It was a typical UW win — good defense and at times decent offense. The Cowboys held Southern (3-9) to 32.7 percent shooting. It was the eighth time UW has held a team to 50 points or less this season.
UW handled not having Grabau and Herndon well. Redshirt sophomore Jason McManamen of Torrington started for Grabau and had seven points.
UW coach Larry Shyatt isn’t sure if Grabau or Herndon will be ready for the Cowboys’ game at Montana State at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Shyatt said Grabau doesn’t have a pulled hamstring, but it is tight and sore. He also described Grabau as “one tough hombre” and if he could help the team for even two minutes at Montana State, he will.
Here is Shyatt after the game.
The Cowboys also got kind of beat up during the game. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. looked like he injured his foot early in the first half, but he returned and played 26 minutes. Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. had to get a but on his left hand bandaged, and even Adams was limping a little bit in the second half.
True freshman guard Alexander Aka Gorski didn’t have any protection on left middle finger for the first time in a game this season. Gorksi broke the tip of that finger in preseason practice. Gorski played 12 minutes but didn’t score on 0 of 3 shooting.
And, Shyatt said former guard Nathan Sobey, who played the previous two years for UW, received his degree from the school yesterday.