3 takes on UW’s 67-59 loss to UNLV; with VIDEO

My three takes from Wyoming’s 69-57 loss at UNLV Saturday night:

1. Getting away from what got them here: UW won 21 games by playing good defense, but the first thing coach Larry Shyatt said after the game was that the Cowboys focused more on scoring than getting stops against the Rebels. UNLV was 11 of 19 from 3-point range — 6 of 10 in the second half. Some of those shots were contested, but too many were not. Shyatt didn’t have many answers for why, but UW better figure it out or it could lose its final two games of the regular season this week — home for Utah State Wednesday and at New Mexico Saturday.

Here is Shyatt after the game:

2. Early turnovers: The Cowboys committed nine turnovers in the first half, and looked a lot like it did in its 64-59 home loss to Fresno State on Wednesday. There were some sloppy passes, some good defense by UNLV, but too many unforced errors by the Cowboys. To their credit, they had only three turnovers in the second half. However, UNLV scored 15 points off UW’s turnovers. The Cowboys are not good enough to give anyone in this league that many extra possessions and points.

3. Nance still coming back: Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. had nine points on 3 of 10 shooting, and took only one shot in the second half. UNLV did a good job on Nance. It doubled down and would send players down on him once he would make his move near the basket. In his two games back since missing the previous four with mononucleosis, Nance is a combined 7 of 20 from the field. Nance said UNLV didn’t do anything against him that he didn’t expect, and it is understandable that he wasn’t going to be come back from an illness like that and be like the old Nance right away. However, UW needs him to be more of an offensive presence down the stretch. Easier said than done when teams will try to take him away, but there have been some shots in these last two games we’ve seen him make many times. Nance also fouled out with 1:16 to play, the first time he’s fouled out this season.

Here is Nance after the game:

A few other notes and observations from the game:

–I really have liked how junior guard Josh Adams has attacked the basket and elevated his offensive game the last four games. He’s averaged 22.5 points during that span, and had a game-high 24 points. But while Adams’ ability to drive to the basket and create is important, one has to wonder if that mentality led to some lapses on defense — in this game and in others. This isn’t all about Adams, but with the entire team. There needs to be a happy median here, and right now UW hasn’t found it.

Here is Adams after the game:

–It looked like this game would come down to the end. UW cut UNLV’s lead to 52-49 with 7:49 to play, but an ill-advised 3 by Adams, followed by a turnover and three missed layups spurred a 10-0 UNLV run that put the game away with 4:09 left. The Cowboys need to finish those plays, and haven’t the last couple of games.

–Bigger guards have given the Cowboys trouble this season, which was the case in this game. UNLV played three guard who were 6-foot-6, and senior point guard Cody Doolin is 6-3. The Rebels’ four guard scored 45 of the team’s points, led by freshman Patrick McCaw’s 21 points on 5 of 7 shooting from 3-point range.

–In the span of a week, UW — now 21-8 overall, 10-6 Mountain West — went from being in a second-place tie in the MW standings to now being fifth and just one game ahead of Fresno State, which is in sixth place. This veteran team and veteran coaching staff need to get it figured out as it faces the league’s hottest team in Utah State Wednesday in Laramie for senior night.

For more on the game, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.


2 thoughts on “3 takes on UW’s 67-59 loss to UNLV; with VIDEO

  1. Depth on the bench and especially our lack of strength at an additional block player or two, Shyatt has undeniably known how paper thin we are with d-1 quality players. Imagine what an Amath or Dez on this squad would look like as well as another big with the talent close to Leonard Washington would feel like in this 2nd half of the MWC. It’s unfortunate that we’ve been rocked with injuries, assaults, and other tragedies that have affected our squad the last 3 years. I believe the kids are playing they’re respective hearts out, yet the verdict is Coach (and staff) has not held up to his objective to find athletes to compete against quality opponents when it matters most. We got beat by 7 scholarship players which essentially were Vegas’ JV team last night.

  2. I’ve heard a lot of conversation about how this latest Wyoming descent into CBI mediocrity falls into the realm of coaching and/or bad luck. That is, quite frankly, a bit of delusion. The honest truth is – just as in the previous few seasons – this is a case of personnel. Quite simply, Wyoming is not deep, and their best effort still wouldn’t measure up outside the Mountain West Conference. Picking up 21 wins isn’t particularly impressive when your 11-2 non-conference mark is highlighted by a three point win over 19-10 New Mexico State, followed by a next-best win over 14-14 Denver. Yes, Wyoming boosts a win over Boise State and a sweep of Colorado State – but remove MWC play, and who have either of those teams really beaten? Keep in mind, also, how poorly the MWC has performed in the NCAA tournament over the last 10 seasons – it’s been an extremely weak conference on a national level, and this year’s iteration looks to be one of the worst yet.

    I’m begging to be disproven, and I’d like nothing more than for it to happen. But if I posit this, can you refute it? Is there a single player on Wyoming’s roster who would start on the 2001-02 squad that took out Gonzaga and stood toe-to-toe with Arizona? Nance may be a better shooter than Davis, but as a pure college basketball player, there still is no comparison; keep in mind that Davis spent a bit of time in the NBA. Adams vs. Jay Straight? I’ll stick with Jay. Elsewhere, there’s simply no comparison (Bailey, Nsonwu-Amadi, Richardson – and even bench guys like Paris Corner, Ronell Mingo, Joe Ries, David Rottinghaus all were solid contributors).

    That’s the kind of squad Wyoming needs to field in order to compete nationally. Yes, it was a special, special unit…but it takes special for a team from Laramie to go into the field of 32, or beyond.

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