Edwards offers three keys to closing out games

First-year Wyoming men’s basketball coach Allen Edwards feels like his team is “right there” in terms of closing out and winning close games in conference play.

Allen Edwards

Allen Edwards

However, UW (13-7 overall, 3-4 Mountain West) isn’t there yet. Two of the Cowboys’ four conference losses were by single digits. But even in an 85-70 loss at Fresno State on Jan. 4, UW was close in the second half before things fell apart.

“We can’t continue to be just right here. Have to take the next step to get over the hump,” Edwards said.

Edwards on Monday listed three things he told his players they must do:

  1. Taking care ball.
  2. Don’t allow offensive rebounds.
  3. Positioning and execution on defense.

Do you agree or disagree?

UW hosts UNLV (10-10, 3-4) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and those factors — especially the first one — played a role in the Cowboys’ 81-75 loss in Las Vegas on Dec. 31. UW committed 16 turnovers in the game, which led to 15 UNLV points. However, a good number of those turnovers came in the final 10 minutes of the game.

In the Cowboys’ 78-71 loss at New Mexico last Saturday, the Lobos had five of their eight offensive rebounds in the second half (the game was tied at 38-38 at halftime). The game was tied at 59-59 with eight minutes to play, but a couple of defensive lapses helped New Mexico go on an 11-2 run over the next four minutes.

“At the end of the day it’s process of this team growing,” Edwards said. “Sometimes you have to go through (those struggles) to grow. This is a team that hasn’t been put in those situations enough. Last year’s team relied heavily on (senior guard Josh Adams). Now, guys are playing bigger roles and we are telling them to be more assertive and aggressive. There’s growth to be done, but at some point we have to get over that hump.”

10 thoughts on “Edwards offers three keys to closing out games

    • That’s a fair point, but they are among the top 5 in minutes played, which is like starter minutes. But that also doesn’t mean they shouldn’t or can’t play more.
      Appreciate the comment.

      RG

      • I think they are like 4th and 5th or 5th and 6th in minutes played. In my opinion they should be getting superstar minutes. It’s just silly to have two players of that caliber and not play them as much as possible. Playing those two for a combined 10-12 more minutes per game could easily by the difference in a couple of the close games we’ve had. They are easily our two best players/ Really poor job by Edwards in my opinion.

  1. 10 highest ranked teams in the country play their top two scorers between 31-35 minutes per game. WYO’s top two scorers play 23 and 25 minutes per game. Is our team deeper than the top teams in the country? RAGS

    • I certainly wouldn’t say that UW is deeper than the top teams in the country, but Edwards believes in playing eight to nine guys, and sometimes 10. Whether that is good, bad or indifferent is up for debate.

      I wouldn’t argue that Dalton and James should play more minutes, and perhaps they will. There have been times, however, where foul trouble caused both to have their minutes limited. Dalton also missed the entire second half of the San Jose State game with a bad ankle.

      Edwards has said he’s worried about the number of minutes McManamen has been logging. I think he is weary of wearing guys out with the style of play they are now using.

      But your point is a valid one, and I appreciate it!

      RG

  2. I think Dalton is the hardest guy we have to defend. James is an important player now and in the future. I think when he is in we become a two or three player offense. . When the starters are in we seem to be a four and sometimes five player offense. When we don’t have anyone hot James & Adams are core to keeping us in the game. Edwards has created units with different looks which has the opponent’s coach constantly adjusting to beat us. This is becoming an effective transition year and next year’s team is going to have a whole new look. These kids are not as disciplined as previous teams in defense. Part of the problem is they are having way too much fun playing offense. And shame on me I’m having too much fun watching them live and die by the “3”

  3. I’m happy with the time players are getting I just wish JMac would get out of his slump.

    This fast paced play would have our top scorers with dead legs at the end of games and completely dead by the end of the season.

    The minutes played aren’t the direct reason for the losses those are growing pains and being careless when it absolutely matters.

    We’ve seen both Dalton and James with mental mistakes on both offense and defense towards the end of games. Those mental mistakes both turnovers and fouls are a direct result of losses.

    I’m still all in on Edwards and say he deserves his time as a coach to see what he can do with his style that he has implemented.

  4. I’m all in on Edwards as well and love the style of play. I ‘m just don’t agree with his rotation. I believe the Pokes are better with HD and JJ on the floor. The more minutes they get will hopefully lead to less mistakes. 75 teams score more points than the pokes while having 3 or more players logging 29 minutes or more. Bottom line is
    Coach Edwards believes his rotation is the best way to put the most points on the scoreboard while not letting the other team score as much.

  5. Melt Down, Total Collapse how does one define Cowboy Basketball.
    Looks like Edwards is back to his three points he attempted to stress In Monday’s practice.
    Can Edwards fire this team up to play two halves?

  6. I have no issues with minutes played. There is basically one senior (no offense Marshall) so this team is going to be pretty salty with all the experience they are getting. They are young and they are in every game. My issue is the offensive rebounds allowed. That drives me nuts, because that is a toughness and effort thing.

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