If someone calls you “a pest” you wouldn’t think it’s a compliment.
It is if you’re Wyoming junior point guard Jeremy Lieberman.
Over his last six games, the 6-foot-1 Lieberman has averaged nearly five points per game, and his assist-to-turnover-ratio is 2-to-1. Those numbers aren’t eye-popping, but isn’t the only thing first-year coach Allen Edwards has seen from Lieberman.
“He’s embraced the defensive part of it, and he’s taken it upon himself to be a pest on the ball,” Edwards said. “I thought he was really good at San Jose State (an 80-70 UW win where Lieberman had nine points on Jan. 18), and has been really good since with him taking on that role.”
It was nice to break out of football mode for a couple of hours Thursday night to watch the Wyoming men’s basketball team. The Cowboys easily defeated Division II Chadron State 75-50 in front of a packed house of 1,187 at Eastern Wyoming College.
After a slow start for UW, the game was never in doubt, which is what you would expect in an exhibition game.
First, here is first-year UW coach Allen Edwards after the game:
Coming off its first bye of the conference season, the Wyoming men’s basketball team plays at Boise State at 2 p.m. Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
So how did UW use its bye week — or at least its time not having a mid-week game?
Coach Larry Shyatt said the team took Sunday and Tuesday off. It practiced “hard” Monday, and “lifted hard and had a long individual skill development” workout Wednesday. The team began preparations for Boise State Thursday. The coaches also spent time on the road recruiting.
Boise State (16-9 overall, 7-5 Mountain West) has lost four of its last five games, including a crazy 97-93 double-overtime loss at Colorado State where a game-winning 3-pointer by junior James Webb III was ruled no good by the officials.
It’s a question asked by Wyoming men’s basketball fans almost on a daily basis.
Why isn’t Morris Marshall playing more?
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.
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:
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:
It’s becoming a common pattern for the Wyoming men’s basketball team in its first seven games — all at home.
Establish a big lead and cruise.
Minus a slow start, the Cowboys made it look pretty easy in a 68-42 win over Denver Tuesday night at the Arena-Auditorium.
UW trailed 9-2 just less than five minutes into the game. Shot selection was poor, transition defense wasn’t good, and coach Larry Shyatt took a time out.
The Cowboys trailed 16-11 with 7:59 left in the first half, and outscored the Pioneers 16-4 the rest of the half to lead 27-20 at halftime.
UW started the second half with a 9-0 runs, and the blow out was on.
Per normal, I really liked what senior forward Larry Nance Jr. did. He had 17 points, five rebounds, two steals and an assist. He looked like he was in pain much of the game, and had some tape on his right shoulder. Nance said it was “nothing to worry about” and Shyatt said Nance slept on the shoulder wrong the other night.
After being benched for his poor play early, junior guard Josh Adams played well with 11 points and six assists. He started UW’s first-half run with six straight points.
It was quite the day in Laramie Sunday as Wyoming gave fans their first look at the renovated Arena-Auditorium and a glimpse of this season’s men’s basketball team.
The Cowboys took care of business with a 78-70 victory over Northern Colorado in front of 5,876 fans. I must say, the A-A has a completely different feel to it. From the position of the court, the new retractable seating, the pregame introductions of players … it all feels different — but in a good way.
Here is video of the new player introductions:
As for the team, senior forward Larry Nance Jr. looked good in his first game after tearing his ACL in mid-February. He led UW with 21 points and eight rebounds. He didn’t score until about 13 minutes into the game, but he moved well, he rebounded well and logged 35 minutes. Nance also took a hard fall with just under five minutes to play that had everyone in the arena holding their collective breaths. But he was fine, and UW’s fortunes could be fine if Nance keeps this up.
This is the first of a season-long video series involving the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team and some of the things its coaches do to get players prepared for games.
Today, assistant coach Allen Edwards demonstrates some basic defensive concepts taught to all players. The players involved in this video include four true freshmen — center Jonathan Barnes, guard Jeremy Lieberman, forward Tyrell Williams and wing Alex Gorski.
Look for more of these videos throughout the season. UW plays its season-opener at 2 p.m. today against Northern Colorado at the newly renovated Arena-Auditorium.
For more UW hoops coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and log on to wyosports.net. See today’s Laramie Boomerang for WyoSports’ 40-page preview section on UW men’s and women’s sports.