UW players put it on themselves to do what coaches tell them

After Wyoming’s 78-73 home loss to Colorado State Tuesday, first-year coach Allen Edwards said at some point his players must get what he and his staff are telling them and go out and do it.

For those of you who missed it, here is Edwards’ complete postgame comments:

To me, there seems to be a communication problem between the coaching staff and the players, which led me to write column which ran Thursday in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang and online at wyosports.net. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2kPmH9h

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Cowboys, Wolf Pack enter as even teams on paper

Saturday is the biggest game on the schedule for the Wyoming men’s basketball team. One reason is because it’s the next game on the’ schedule. But the biggest reason is up until now, this is the best team that’s come into the Arena-Auditorium this season.

UW (12-5 overall, 2-2 Mountain West) hosts Nevada (14-3, 3-1) at 4 p.m. MT, and fans can watch it online on ESPN3. Nevada is in second place in the conference behind Boise State, but has the best record in the league.

When you look at this game on paper, you see two pretty even teams.

— Nevada leads the MW in scoring (79.4 ppg), followed by UW (78.6 ppg). Both teams allow pretty much the same amount of points. Nevada allows 72.2, UW 72.9 per contest. Look for a high-scoring, entertaining game Saturday if nothing else.

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Adams firmly stands behind his teammates

On Jan. 4, Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams tweeted out — to paraphrase — that despite what critics have said, he wouldn’t trade his current group of teammates for anything.

Josh Adams

Josh Adams

Adams has been the undisputed leader of the Cowboys this season — on and off the floor. He leads the team in virtually every statistical category, and enters Wednesday’s game at San Jose State fourth in the nation in scoring at 24.8 points per game.

Adams scored a season-low 12 points in UW’s 59-57 home win over UNLV last Saturday. He did a lot of other things well in that game despite shooting 3 of 14 from the field and 1 of 7 from 3-point range. He had a game-high five assists, was 5 of 6 from the free-throw line and added two steals and two blocked shots.

Simply put, the Cowboys don’t win that game without Adams.

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Shyatt talks about lack of playing time for Marshall

It’s a question asked by Wyoming men’s basketball fans almost on a daily basis.

Why isn’t Morris Marshall playing more?

Morris Marshall

Morris Marshall

The junior guard from Santa Fe Junior College in Florida was expected to give UW a scoring boost, and a some size at the two-guard at 6-foot-4.

However, Marshall has dealt with a groin injury in the fall, as well as concussion issues as the season approached. He’s played in only four games this season, with his most extensive playing time coming against Southern on Dec.10 where he logged seven minutes off the bench and scored three points.

“I think he’s coming along great physically,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “It’s one of those things. For him to break into the lineup or get significant minutes would mean one or two of our perimeter players we’re plaing now removed from significant minutes. As staff, we haven’t seen that being necessary at this point.

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UW-Colorado State men’s hoops: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

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:

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UW-Colorado State men’s hoops: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming men’s basketball in tonight’s Border War versus Colorado State. Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. Offense vs. Defense: Colorado State (19-3 overall, 6-3 MW) leads the league in scoring at 74 points per game. UW is fourth in the nation in scoring defense (53.9 ppg). The Cowboys got the better end in the first game, a 60-54 victory at Moby Arena on Jan. 7

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

as they held the Rams to 34 percent shooting and 2 of 14 from 3-point range. UW can’t get into a track meet in this game, yet will need to take advantage of some fast-break points when it can.

“You have to be alert and on edge every single possession,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “What we have to do better (tonight) is during those first eight to 10 seconds on defense. When they rebound that ball they fly it up the floor. They have enough outstanding offensive players they can insult you in transition.”

2. Play smart in the post: UW is undermanned inside as redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. will have to shoulder the load inside, which they so for the most part anyway. However, Herndon averaged nearly 18 minutes per game in conference play so Nance and Cooke will have to play smart and avoid foul trouble, and Shyatt and staff will have a challenge in terms of managing those minutes. The Cowboys could go with a small lineup at times with only one post, but those times may be few and far between as Colorado State has four bigs who see time and can run the floor.

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More minutes coming for Aka Gorski?

Some fans have asked me recently what is up with Wyoming true freshman guard Alexander Aka Gorski and why he has not played much, especially in the Cowboys’ first few conference games.

Alexander Aka Gorski

Alexander Aka Gorski

Prior to the Cowboys’ game at Fresno State last Saturday, Aka Gorski played one minute in games against UNLV and Boise State.

But at Fresno State, Aka Gorski played eight minutes and hit his first shot — a 3-pointer — in UW’s 70-65 triple overtime victory. Most of those minutes, and his 3-pointer, came in the first half.

“He’s put himself in position (to play more) because he’s in great shape now, he’s healthier now and he does make shots at practice, which reminds you there’s a need to get him on the floor,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said Monday.

Aka Gorski fractured the middle finger on his left hand during fall practice. He missed UW’s first four games, but despite wearing a large splint, did see some playing time. The splint has been off for about a month now. Continue reading

UW-Fresno State men’s hoops: 3 takes, video and interviews

Where do you start to sum up No. 25 Wyoming’s 70-65 triple overtime win at Fresno State Saturday night?

Don’t know of three takes does it justice, but here we go:

1. Big Shot Hank: Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. made a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third overtime to seal the win for UW. It’s been Hankerson’s thing to make 3s late in the shot clock this season, and none were as big as this one. Maybe it wasn’t planned, and perhaps it was a bit lucky, but it was a huge shot. Hankerson finished with nine points, six rebounds and two assists.

Here are all the late-game highlights, including the final sequences in all three overtimes. Sorry for some of the obstructive views. And, here is Hankerson talking about his big shot.


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UW-Southern men’s basketball postgame thoughts

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.

Derek Cooke Jr.

Derek Cooke Jr.

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:


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UW-Regis men’s basketball postgame thoughts

It was what many expected from the Wyoming men’s basketball team coming off its first loss of the season Friday at SMU.

The Cowboys hosted Division II Regis and easily won 70-35 Sunday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

UW (8-1) held Regis (2-4) to 28.6 percent shooting, and 21.6 percent from the 7:11 mark of the first half. The Cowboys wanted the starters to get a big lead so the bench guys could log some minutes, especially since the team didn’t return from SMU until mid-afternoon Saturday.

None of UW’s starters played more than 19 minutes, but they combined to go 11 of 15 from the field.

Senior center Matt Sellers sparked a 19-5 first-half run with 12 points. Sellers scored all of his points in the game during that run as UW led 38-17 at halftime. Sellers played only nine minutes.

Redshirt freshman post Alan Herndon was impressive with seven points and career-highs with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. He had a one-handed follow up dunk in the second half that was impressive.

Here is Herndon, Sellers and true freshman center Jonathan Barnes — who had a career-high eight points and scored with a short jumper and inside — after the game:


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