Cowboys say they will be more focused in regular-season opener

I don’t think anyone felt good about Wyoming’s 77-69 overtime loss to Division II Fort Lewis last Saturday.

Yes, it was an exhibition game. Even though the Cowboys’ three best players — senior guard Josh Adams, junior guard Jason McManamen and sophomore forward Alan Herndon — didn’t play the last 15 minutes or so based on the decision coach Larry Shyatt made earlier in the week, there was a level of disappointment.

Talking to the players this week, they seem determined that won’t happen Friday when the Cowboys open the regular season against Bristol University out of Anaheim, California.

Alan Herndon

Alan Herndon

“Increased focus,” said Herndon on what practice has been like so far this week. “Coaches have been more on edge. We know we have to prepare a lot better. We know we have to prepare and respect every single team we play no mater what their name is.”

Added McManamen: “It was tough. You don’t want to lose any game no mater who you’re playing. We have to learn from it. It will make us hungrier for this game Friday. We’re going to be ready.”

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UW football-basketball doubleheader – postgame thoughts

Football and men’s basketball doubleheaders for Wyoming are rare, but there was one this past Saturday in Laramie and the results were equal on both accounts — disappointing.

Let’s start with football.

The Cowboys lost to Border War rival Colorado State 26-7, but to me the score felt more like it was 46-7.

UW was dominated in all aspects. Colorado State scored the first four times it had the ball. The Rams were conservative after that, and even then the Cowboys couldn’t do much.

Here’s coach Craig Bohl after the game:

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3 takes on Wyoming’s 52-49 OT loss at New Mexico

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:


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UW at New Mexico men’s hoops: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming’s regular-season finale today at New Mexico. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. MT at WisePies Arena, aka, the Pit in Albuquerque.

Hugh Greenwood

Hugh Greenwood

1. Defend Greenwood: New Mexico senior guard Hugh Greenwood leads the Mountain West with 66 made 3-pointers, and he made five in UW’s 63-62 overtime win in Laramie in January. Perimeter defense has been an issue for the Cowboys, but they were better in Wednesday’s 76-53 win over Utah State as the Aggies shot just 6 of 18 from behind the arc. No one else on the Lobos roster that will play today has made more than 16 3s. UW needs to defend well against everyone on the perimeter, but especially on Greenwood.

“We can’t let New Mexico’s crowd and emotion take over because that will be tough to overcome,” senior forward Larry Nance Jr. said.

If Greenwood gets hot — or any of New Mexico’s players — that can easily happen.

Charles Hankerson Jr.

Charles Hankerson Jr.

2. Lobos have some size: New Mexico’s starting lineup will go 6-foot-3, 6-4, 6-5, 6-7 and 7-1. It also will bring a 6-10 center off the bench. Bigger teams, especially in the backcourt has given UW fits this season. UW  needs defend 6-5 senior guard Deshawn Delaney well. He leads the team with 12.1 points per game. Look for senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. and redshirt sophomore Jason McManamen to see a lot of time on Delaney when UW plays man-to-man defense. The Cowboys will need to do a good job of getting out in transition and attacking the basket when they can, and also moving the ball around well in their half-court offense. And obviously, UW will have to hold its own on the boards and not allow a lot of second and third-chance opportunities from the Lobos.

One player that has played better for New Mexico inside is 7-1 sophomore center Obij Aget, who over his last four games has averaged 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocked shots and has shot 50 percent from the field.

Here is my video preview of the game:


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UW-Nevada men’s basketball: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 64-58 win at Nevada Tuesday night at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada.

1. Tale of two halves: Simply put, UW was awful in the first half and awful good in the second. The Cowboys were 6 of 23 from the field in the first half, and even missed all five

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

of its free throws — all by guards. The Cowboys were trying to drive to the basket, but Nevada did a good job of blocking shots and stopping that. UW had open outside shots, but it couldn’t hit them. But in the second half, after the Cowboys hit a few outside shots, they looked like the team that ran the floor in transition against San Jose State last Saturday in Laramie. The Cowboys shot 61.5 percent in the second half (16 of 25) and made 5 of 8 3-pointers. “I credit our assistant coaches for grinding, and I credit our players because to me this was one of the most incredible I’ve ever been part of on the road,” coach Larry Shyatt said.

Here are some of the late second half highlights as UW took the lead with 4:25 to play after a 3-pointer by redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen, and never gave it back up.

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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-Nevada men’s basketball: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 63-55 win over Nevada Saturday:

1. Chairmen of the boards: UW outrebounded Nevada 34-24 and 12-9 on the offensive glass. Rebounding is not the Cowboys’ strength, especially not on the offensive glass. But they were good there against a Nevada team that averaged more than 41 rebounds per game, and 15.4 offensive rebounds per contest. Even though senior forwards Larry Nance Jr.(11 points, 10 rebounds) and Derek Cooke Jr. (14 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles, it was more than just rebounding. UW got to most of the 50-50 balls, or hustle plays in this game. Sometimes that resulted in an offensive rebound. Other times in extended a possession. The hustle the Cowboys showed was impressive. UW was credited with five team rebounds — four offensive — and many of those came on hustle plays. The Cowboys also scored a season-high 16 second-chance points.

Here are video highlights from the second half:

 

Riley Grabau

Riley Grabau

2. Grabau getting hot: Senior guard Riley Grabau was 3 of 5 from 3-point range and is 11 of 21 in his last three games. Doubt he can shoot at that pace the rest of the season, but it is good to see him knock down some shots. Junior guard Josh Adams was 2 of 5 from behind the arc and sophomore Jason McManamen was 1 of 2. If senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. can only bust out of his slump. Hankerson was 0 of 5 from the field and 0 of 3 from 3. In his last three games he is 0 of 16 and 0 of 12 from behind the arc. Coach Larry Shyatt isn’t concerned about Hankeson because he’s playing good defense and being unselfish offensively. Hankerson said via his Twitter account after the game: “Great win. It’s all about the team. But I have to be better. I will be better.”

Here is Shyatt after the game:


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UW-Boise State postgame thoughts, notes, quotes and video

One thing you can say about this Wyoming men’s basketball team — it does a good job with halftime adjustments.

For the third time in four conference games UW trailed at the half. Saturday, it was down 31-30 at home to Boise State. The Broncos made 6 of 14 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes. They only made four 2-point baskets.

But the Cowboys played better defense, had some spectacular offensive plays and made all 10 of their free throws in the second half for a 65-54 victory in front of a solid crowd of 7,024 — the second largest of the season — Saturday afternoon at the Arena-Auditorium.

UW won its seventh straight game, 13th in a row at home and sits atop the Mountain West at 15-2 overall and 4-0 in league play — the only undefeated team in the MW right now.

Boise State entered the game leading the MW in scoring (71.8 ppg) and 3-point shooting percentage (38.3). It shot 40 percent for the game at 10 of 25, which ties for the most 3-point baskets UW has allowed this season.

Sophomore forward James Webb III — at 6-foot-9 — was 5 of 7 from 3. He came into the game 10 of 29 on the season. But aside from Webb, UW did a good job on the other Boise State players from the perimeter. No one made more than one 3, and UW made senior guard Derrick Marks get most of his points from outside the arc. Marks had 16 points, but only one 3-pointer.

“In first half we gave Webb too many wide open 3s,” UW senior forward Larry Nance said. “He was still 5 of 7 but he hit three in the first half that were wide open. Their bigs like to shoot the 3. That is their threat, and ours is inside. It was a clash of play styles.”

Coach Larry Shyatt said UW also did a good job of switching defenses from man to zone in the second half, and recognizing those switches. Here is Shyatt after the game:


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Herndon gaining confidence, and hopefully weight, as season progresses

Wyoming redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon worked hard in the offseason to add 20 pounds to his 6-foot-9 frame. He was listed at 205 pounds when the season started, and coach Larry Shyatt joked in the fall that Herndon was “less thin” than he was last season.

Alan Herndon

Alan Herndon

But a bout with acid reflux before Christmas caused Herndon to miss two games and lose 14 pounds. Herndon said he’s gained about eight of those pounds back, but if there was any UW player who couldn’t afford to lose weight, it was Herndon.

Don’t you wish we all had Herndon’s challenge of gaining weight?

But despite the weight loss, Herndon has given UW solid minutes since his return. In his last three games, Herndon has averaged 22.3 minutes per game, and played no fewer than 16 minutes in any of those contests.

Herndon logged a career-high 32 minutes in UW’s 60-54 win at Colorado State Wednesday. His stat line wasn’t eye-popping with two points and five rebounds. But he played well as senior forward Larry Nance Jr. struggled with a tweak of his surgically repaired right knee and after senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. picked up two fouls in the opening minutes of the game.

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UW-CSU postgame thoughts, notes, quotes and VIDEO

It may not have been one of the best played games between Wyoming and Colorado State in its long men’s basketball history.

But it was one of the more exciting ones as the Cowboys won 60-54 in front of a near sellout crowd of 8,108 Wednesday night at Moby Arena Wednesday night.

Wyoming had 17 turnovers, went nearly nine minutes without a basket in the second half, had two of its better players in foul trouble and its best player rattled by an injury.

Yet, the Cowboys never trailed in the game and improved to 14-2 overall, 3-0 in the Mountain West. It is the first time since the 2002-03 season that UW has started 3-0 in MW play. The Pokes also snapped a five-game losing streak at Colorado State (14-2, 1-2) and snapped the Rams’ 10-game home winning streak.

And one last streak, UW has won three straight road games after losing its first two this season.

Redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen of Torrington hit a 3-pointer with 23 seconds to play to give UW a 59-54 lead. That sealed the win. McManamen had eight poins off the bench and made both of his 3-pointers in the game.

Here are highlights of that last 3-pointers, and what McManamen had to say after the game:

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