My 3 takes from Wyoming’s 59-48 win over Colorado State at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.
1. Repeat performance: The Cowboys held the Rams to 54 points and 34 percent shooting in a 60-54 win at Moby Arena on Jan. 7. They out did themselves in this game as they held Colorado State to season-lows in points and shooting percentage at 30. The Rams were 3 of 25 from 3-point range, and just 5 of 25 in the first half.
“Wyoming is a good team, and we’re a real good team. Sometimes you just can’t explain. This is one of those games that you just can’t explain,” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. “I’m not embarrassed at all of this game, our guys tried for 40 minutes. We just couldn’t make shots, and when you don’t make shots you don’t look very good.”
Here are some second half highlights from the game:
2. A fully healthy Nance: UW senior forward Larry Nance Jr. played his first fully healthy game against Colorado State since he was a sophomore. Last season, he didn’t play at all against the Rams after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. In
the first game this season in Fort Collins, Nance heard and felt a pop in that knee and said himself he was mentally out of it in the second half not knowing what the problem was (it was just scar tissue). Nance showed he is a candidate for the Mountain West’s Player of the Year as he had 19 points, 10 rebounds (his sixth double-double of the season and 17th of his career), along with four blocked shots and three steals. Nance also made two 3-pointers, after having made five all this season prior to this game.
Here is Nance, senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. and Jeremy Lieberman after the game:
3. Bench play: True freshman guard Jeremy Lieberman scored half of UW’s 16 bench points. True freshman guard Alexander Aka Gorski and sophomore guard Jason McManamen both made a 3, and true freshman center Jonathan Barnes had a dunk late in the game. With redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon out indefinitely with mononucleosis, UW’s bench will be tested for a while. Coach Larry Shyatt used Barnes for a minute in the first half to spell Nance. He also used Aka Gorksi and McManamen a lot, along with senior starting guard Charles Hankerson Jr., to guard guys a the power forward spot. Look to see this more as the season goes on, and because of Aka Gorksi’s and McManamen’s size at around 6-5, Shyatt feels good about that. Shyatt said after the game UW’s bench could make it a better team down the stretch this season. Let’s hope he’s right.
Here is Shyatt after the game:
A few other notes and quotes:
–UW had 2,203 students at the game. That was one of the loudest student sections I’ve seen there in a long time. Those students filled up a good part of the arena. Well done, students. “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am just for that piece,” Shyatt said. “Boy oh boy, we needed them tonight and the fans were great tonight.”
–The Cowboys’ eight 3-pointers against the Rams and their 42.1 percentage from behind the arch tied for the second-best marks this season.
–UW didn’t allow any fast-break points, and has done that eight times this season.
–The Cowboys improved to 8-1 this season in games where it allowed 50 points or fewer.
–Senior guard Riley Grabau went 2 of 2 from 3-point range and is 13 of 23 over his last four games. He is now fifth in school history in career 3-point shooting percentage (36.8).
—Senior Derek Cooke Jr. recorded his second consecutive double-double for the first time in his career with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Half of his points came at the free-throw line where he was 6 of 10. A 54.3 percent free-throw shooter coming into the game, Cooke is 10 of 15 over his last two.
–Shyatt said there were a couple of players who were in “a little bit of an offensive funk,” in this game. Junior guard Josh Adams had just two points on 1 of 8 shooting, and Hankerson was scoreless and has missed his last 20 shots over the last four games. However, Shyatt said those players did some good things on defense. Adams also dished out a game-high six assists.
“If we keep our intensity and our edge on defense, we can be right in there in every game,” Shyatt said.
–The 18 baskets for Colorado State were its second-fewest this season in a game. The fewest was 17 when UW won at Moby Arena last month.