It was not the best game that was played in the Arena-Auditorium as we know it, but it was exciting and for Wyoming as it beat Border War rival Colorado State 83-75 Saturday.
This was the last game in the current configuration of the A-A. Starting Monday it will receive a $30 million renovation.
A lot of streaks were broken with this victory. UW (18-13, 9-9) snapped a four-game losing streak and a four-game slide to the Rams (16-15, 7-11).
But more importantly, the Cowboys finished .500 in conference play for the first time since 2004-05. Coach Larry Shyatt talked a lot about that in his post-game news conference after the game and that he liked to silence those who doubted this team.
Here is what Shyatt had to say:
A San Diego State home win over New Mexico Saturday night will give UW a fourth or fifth-place finish and earn it a first-round bye a the MW Tournament next week in Las Vegas. Not a bad place to be for a team that lost its leader in junior forward Larry Nance Jr..
One has to wonder what could have been had Nance not suffered that season-ending knee injury on Feb. 18. Some wondered if UW would win another game without Nance.
Wow, that game slipped away from the Wyoming men’s basketball team in a hurry.
Tied at 31 at Colorado State at halftime, the Cowboys had no answer for the Rams in the second half in an 82-67 loss in front of a loud and energetic crowd of 6,590 at Moby Arena. There were a good number of UW fans here, but they didn’t have a chance to make a lot of noise in the second half.
Colorado State shot 58.6 percent in the final 20 minutes, and made 12 of its first 17 shots. It also was 7 of 15 from 3-point range, and 5 of 9 in the second half.
UW coach Larry Shyatt and all the players I talked to after the game said UW couldn’t stop the Rams. The Cowboys also couldn’t rebound. They were outrebounded 37-21 and 13-2 on the offensive glass. Colorado State scored 36 points in the paint (18 for UW) and 12 second-chance points.
Not many highlights for UW in this one, but here are a few:
Wyoming sophomore guard Josh Adams will be back on the floor that where he won a state championship as a senior in high school when the Cowboys play at Colorado at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo.
Adams’ game-winning tip-in/dunk gave his Chaparral High squad the Class 5A championship in 2012. Adams wasn’t interested in re-living the past when asked about that moment earlier this week, but it’s worth another look. Here’s the link to the video.
Adams is one of four Colorado players on UW’s roster, and there will be a fifth in post Jonathan Barnes next season.
In last Saturday’s loss to UNLV, Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt said he didn’t think his team displayed the type of energy and effort it has showed all season.
After Tuesday’s 72-66 road loss to Air Force, Shyatt had more critical words for his guys.
“That was one of the most embarrassing defensive performances that I’ve been a part of in 40 years as a head coach or an assistant — at any level,” he said. “I thought the game was won and lost on that end of the floor.
“I don’t want to point fingers, but I will compliment (Air Force’s) attack. I thought there was some trying, but not enough.”
Wyoming’s good defense couldn’t make up for its worst offensive performance in nearly 30 years.
The Cowboys recorded season lows in points, field goals, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, 3-point shooting percentage and assists in a 49-36 loss at Fresno State Wednesday night.
Really not much more to say. UW has some good looks at shots. Fresno defended the Cowboys well, but it was mostly UW missing shots — plain and simple.
UW jumped out to an 11-5 lead and one thought it might methodically build and maintain the lead and get out of here with a win.
But it couldn’t score. UW’s two best post players — Leonard Washington and Larry Nance Jr. — were a combined 7 of 20 from the field and 2 of 6 from the line. UW’s best three guards were 5 of 22 from the field and 1 of 6 from the line.
Thursday afternoon I sat in on some individual workouts for the Wyoming men’s basketball team. A new NCAA rule this year allows coaches to work with players for two hours a week over an eight-week period. UW just started these workouts. For more on that, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.
And, check back to the blog Saturday for video interviews with some players with their thoughts on the workouts.
The group I watched were freshmen and sophomores. Here are some observations:
Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr.: Seemed more confident and poised coming off a solid true freshman season in 2011-12. Looks to be developing a nice mid-range jump shot. Looked a little taller and stronger as well.
True freshman point guard Josh Adams: At 6-1 has great athleticism and leaping ability, as many of you probably saw from watching any of his high school highlight film. Has one of the best vertical jumps on the team, and matched senior forward Leonard Washington’s top vertical leap. Washington is 6-7, and yes, even though he is still suspended from the team Washington is participating in these workouts. He wasn’t at the one I attended. Adams can and will help UW this season.
Some notes on Wyoming’s four new basketball signees Wednesday: 6-1 guard Josh Adams of Parker, Colo., 6-9 forward Austin Haldorson of Highlands Ranch, Colo., 6-6 guard Jason McManamen of Torrington and 6-10 center Matt Sellers from Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs:
–Shyatt said all carry a 3.5 grade point average or higher, and all are “pretty good ball players.”
–Everyone but Sellers attended UW’s summer basketball camp.
Matt Sellers, a 6-foot-10 center from Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, verbally committed to play for the University of Wyoming and will enroll in school in January.
Sellers, who is from Champlin Park, Minn., let Western Wyoming coach Trace Bevell of his decision last week. Sellers will have three years of eligibility at UW, and is expected to redshirt during the 2011-12 season for the Cowboys.