My three takes from Wyoming’s 52-49 overtime loss at New Mexico Saturday night to end the regular season.
1. Good defense or bad offense?: A combination of both. The two teams missed a combined 67 shots. There were missed dunks, missed chances on the fast-break — just about any missed shot you can imagine occurred in this game. For UW, it was good to see it play good defense, but the missed shots were too much to overcome the good defense. The 15 make baskets the Cowboys made tied a season-low, as did the 14 first-half points. When your two leading scorers — senior forward Larry Nance Jr. and junior guard Josh Adams — go a combined 8 of 30 from the field, UW won’t win many games.
Here is UW coach Larry Shyatt after the game:
2. Shot selection: As you heard Shyatt say in his postgame interview, he liked the fact that Nance took a 3 late in overtime that would have won the game for UW in the final seconds. Not sure if having a guy like Nance, who is 10 of 32 this season from 3-point range should be taking that shot. New Mexico keyed on senior guard Riley Grabau, who made three 3s in the second half and missed a shot at the buzzer in regulation that would have won the game. Even though Adams was 1 of 11 in the game and 0 of 2 from 3, wouldn’t he have been a better option?
Here is Nance on that after the game:
3. Roller coaster week: UW experienced the highest of highs after its 76-53 win in its home finale last Wednesday against Utah State, and a significant low with the loss at New Mexico. Yes, the Pit is a tough place to play, and it was loud and packed Saturday night. But New Mexico was without its leading scorer in senior guard Deshawn Delaney due to a wrist injury. UW jumped out to a 9-2 lead, and good and experienced teams need to take advantage of that to steal a road win. Now it’s post season time, and what Cowboys team will we see Thursday afternoon against Utah State (3:30 p.m. MT)?
I also thought UW got some very good minutes from going with a smaller lineup in the second half as the game was about to slip away from it. Nance was the only big man. Redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen at 6-5 played the four, and the other three guards were Grabau, Adams and senior Jack Bentz, who had four assists and no turnovers in 20 minutes — 18 coming in the second half and overtime. Bentz is not an offensive threat, but in the last two games he has 10 assists and no turnovers.
Here is Bentz and some highlights (obstructed from fans) late in the game:
For more on the game, and from the MW Tournament this week in Las Vegas, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and log on to wyosports.net.