WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Robert Kuwada, who covers Fresno State men’s basketball for the Fresno Bee, about Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming at 8 p.m. at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
Follow on Twitter: @rkuwada
Despite its record the Bulldogs have been close in a lot of conference games, including going to overtime in the last two. What are the struggles with this team right now?
The Bulldogs are just young and have had trouble making plays to finish games. The double-overtime loss to Nevada they had the lead at the end of regulation and gave up a layup to Deonte Burton to tie with about 15 seconds to go and then couldn’t get much of a shot coming out of a timeout, and then in the first overtime they had a lead and let Cole Huff get to the rim for a layup with one second to go. Layups … That logically can’t happen, but it did.
They made similar mistakes in the overtime loss at UNLV, only at the offensive end. UNLV gave them a lot of chances to win it in regulation and the overtime, but they couldn’t make a play. A freshman turned the ball over on one key possession. They got switched into a tough shot on another. They rushed a put-back just ahead of the buzzer and missed that.
They’re taking some lumps learning how to really compete and succeed at this level.
Another game, another close one for the Wyoming men’s basketball team.
That is the norm with this squad, and the Cowboys (13-6 overall, 4-2 Mountain West) extended their winning streak to four with a 64-62 overtime win over Nevada (10-10, 5-2) in front of a season-high crowd of 6,944.
Ten of UW’s 19 games have been decided by eight points or less, seven by five points or less and six by three points or less. And, five of its six conference games have been decided by one basket.
That one basket in this game: a running hook shot by junior forward Larry Nance Jr. that reminded many of how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used to do it.
Here’s the video highlights from overtime, including Nance’s game-winner:
WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dan Hinxman, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal for Saturday’s game at the University of Wyoming. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.
Follow on Twitter: @danhinxmanRGJ
Nevada has to be one of the surprises in the Mountain West at 5-1. Has this start surprised you, and what have been the biggest factors?
Yes, I am surprised with how much success it has had so far, given how it played through the first 11 games (4-7) and some of the teams it lost to (Morehead State, Cal State Bak-ersfield and Long Beach State, to name a few). A.J. West’s defensive presence has made a big impact on the team, and other players have stepped up their defensive effort since then, too. Another factor is the Wolf Pack has had one of the easiest starts to conference play so far, having not had to take on San Diego State or New Mexico yet.
WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi offers his first Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings of the 2013-14 season. Look for these rankings once a week through the end of the regular season. As always, your feedback is encouraged.
1. No. 10 San Diego State (14-1 overall, 3-0 MW): The hottest team in the league with a 13-game winning streak. The Aztecs also own the best nonconference win for the MW with a win at Kansas. This was supposed to be a transition year. A healthy Xavier Thames at guard makes a big difference.
2. New Mexico (12-3, 3-0): One of three teams (San Diego State, Nevada) with two road conference victories. Winners of five straight. Has the best frontline duo in the league in Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow. The bench isn’t the deepest, but the Lobos are still very good.
3, Nevada (9-8, 4-0): The biggest surprise in the league so far. Can the Wolf Pack keep this up? Time will tell, but the frontcourt is much better and senior guard Deonte Burton (21.8 ppg) is making his case as a player of the year candidate in the league. A home game tonight against Boise State will be another big test. The Wolf Pack is 4-4 at home but 5-2 on the road.
WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dan Hinxman, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal about Saturday’s 4 p.m. game with the University of Wyoming at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.
Follow on Twitter: @danhinxmanRGJ
How big was Nevada’s 62-50 road win at San Jose State for the team’s confidence after an up and down nonconference part of its schedule?
It was really big simply because this team didn’t know what it had yet. A loss to SJSU, one of the bottom two or three teams in the Mountain West, would have fractured its already delicate confidence, especially with the return of power forward A.J. West. With all the issues Nevada has had this season with injuries and ineligible players, it, too, was a bottom two or three team. Beating the Spartans doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a bottom three team, but at least the players now know they’re better than that.
From left to right, Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt, forward Larry Nance Jr., point guard Derrious Gilmore and forward Leonard Washington talk about the Cowboys’ 85-81 win over Nevada in the play-in game at the Mountain West Tournament on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
They say it is hard to beat at team three times in one season.
At least if you are Wyoming, you beat Nevada twice so you know you can do it. That has to mean something for a team that has lost five straight games and 12 of the last 18 after a 13-0 start.
The Cowboys (18-12 overall, 4-12 Mountain West) play Nevada (12-18, 3-13) in the play-in game (or what the league is calling the first round) of the MW Tournament at 6 p.m. today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
It won’t be easy for the Cowboys to win their third straight over the Wolf Pack. There are two keys: Defense and Leonard Washington.
WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada men’s basketball for the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Eight-seeded Wyoming (18-12 overall, 4-12 Mountain West) plays ninth-seeded Nevada (12-18, 3-13) at 6 p.m. today in the play-in game at the Mountain West Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Question: How is the Wolf Pack in terms of its physical and mental states heading into the play-in game with Wyoming?
Answer: The Wolf Pack had a lull late in the year when it looked like it had given up on the season. That period included a 20-point loss at Wyoming and a 26-point loss at Boise State. The team is playing with much more vigor of late, but it has still dropped its past five games by double-digits. In recent seasons, the Wolf Pack’s energy has taken a nice step forward in conference tournament play, which is to be expected, and I think the same thing will happen this week. As far as injuries are concerned, starting wing play Jerry Evans Jr. (shooting wrist) missed the last game and is questionable, but I expect him to play.