UW got their man in Williams

How bad did the Wyoming men’s basketball program want to sign 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward Tyrell Williams from Norland High in Miami, Florida?

Bad enough that once UW assistant coach Allen Edwards got the recruiting process started, the rest of the coaching staff followed.

Tyrell Williams

Tyrell Williams

Williams signed with the Cowboys Tuesday.

Head coach Larry Shyatt made two trips to Miami to watch Williams play, and to also meet with Williams and his mother. Assistant coaches Scott Duncan and Jeremy Shyatt also made trips to Miami.

The relationship the UW coaching staff built with Williams and his mother, LaShante Gay, was crucial, but so was the relationship it built with Williams’ high school coach — Lawton Williams (no relation).

Williams and his mother visited Laramie last weekend.

Williams averaged 7.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game as a senior. He also helped Norland win three consecutive state titles in Class 6A.

Here is a link to some video highlights from Williams as a senior:


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UW-Texas A&M postgame thoughts

That wasn’t the way the Wyoming men’s basketball team wanted its season to end — a 59-43 loss at Texas A&M Wednesday night in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.

In a nutshell, UW (18-15) picked a bad time to have its worst offensive game of the season. The 43 points was a season-low, as was its 29.8 percent shooting from the field and its 14 baskets made. It also didn’t help that the Cowboys were outrebounded 41-27 and was 5 of 24 from 3-point range.

The guys UW needed to produce didn’t. Sophomore guard Josh Adams, who averaged 24 points and shot 55 percent in his previous four games, had just five points on 2 of 8 shooting. Senior guard Nathan Sobey had nine points on 4 of 11 shooting and junior guard Riley Grabau was scoreless on 0 of 4 shooting.

Texas A&M’s size along the frontcourt had a lot to do with UW’s offensive struggles. It also did a good job of preventing the Cowboys from driving to the basket and getting points inside. UW had only 14 points in the paint, which was a season-low. UW has relied more on the 3 since the injury to junior forward Larry Nance Jr. on Feb. 18, but it also needed to drive the ball to the basket more and get to the free throw line.

The Cowboys were 10 of 12 from the line, but all of those attempts came in the second half.

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UW-UNLV postgame thoughts

They played hard, the effort was there and so was the guts and determination to make a late-game charge.

But it wasn’t enough for the Wyoming Cowboys as they lost 71-67 to UNLV in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

UW (18-14), the tournament’s fifth seed, lost its 13th straight game to UNLV in Las Vegas. It will find out late Sunday night if it plays in the postseason. It should get an invite to the CBI or CIT tournaments.

Here are some second half highlights:

Thursday’s game was a bit odd.

Sophomore guard Josh Adams carried the Cowboys in the first half. He scored 18 of his game-high 24 points then, including a dunk that had the entire crowd — about an even split of UW and UNLV fans — in awe. Adams also had seven rebounds, three assists and tied a career-high with two blocked shots.

UNLV kept Adams at bay in the second half, then it was Jerron Granberry’s turn. All of his career-high 18 points came in the second half. He scored UW’s first 10 points to start the half, and his three-point play with 23.1 seconds left pulled the Cowboys to within one at 66-65.

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UW-Utah State postgame thoughts

It’s a pattern that is becoming all too familiar for the Wyoming men’s basketball team.

A decent to good first half and a not-so-good second half.

The Cowboys lost their fourth consecutive game with a 65-54 loss at Utah State Wednesday night. They led 29-26 at halftime and led by as many as eight early in the second half.

But then UW couldn’t make shots and couldn’t control the glass.

Utah State outscored UW 39-25 in the second half, and outrebounded UW 47-27 for the game.

That pretty much summed this game up. Utah State coach Stew Morrill said Utah State switched its defenses up more in the second half, but it looked to me its zone defense frustrated UW the most.

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UW-Air Force postgame thoughts

This was a game I wasn’t at. Poor weather in Cheyenne kept me from getting to Laramie.

But this was a tough game for Wyoming to lose. Albeit shorthanded, the 55-53 loss to Air Force Tuesday at the Arena-Auditorium will sting for a while.

From a distance UW didn’t seem to have a lot of energy, especially in the first half. Although it didn’t look like there was a lot of energy — or people — in the A-A.

Senior guard Nathan Sobey was great: 18 points, including 14 in the second half. He scored the Cowboys’ first seven points to start the second half. Jerron Granberry scored a career-high 14 points, but was quiet in the second half and missed the front end of a one-and-one with less than two minutes to play.

Junior guard Riley Grabau and sophomore guard Josh Adams were a combined 3 of 16 from the field. UW won’t win any games the rest of the way if those two shoot like that. They also combined for six of the team’s nine turnovers (three apiece).

Shooting 9 of 17 from the free-throw line didn’t help, and that ties for the team’s worst percentage this season.

UW was outrebounded 37-29, and 29-24 on the defensive glass. The Cowboys are 1-9 when they get outrebounded in defensive boards. Even though they forced 15 turnovers the Cowboys scored just 13 points off them.

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UW-New Mexico postgame thoughts

No head coach and without one of its best guards.

Outrebounded 43-22.

That’s what Wyoming faced Wednesday night at The Pit against New Mexico. Yet, the Cowboys had a chance to win the game in regulation, but junior forward Larry Nance Jr.’s fade-away jumper in the key didn’t fall.

Not much else fell for UW in overtime in a 66-61 loss. The game was tied at 57 in regulation. The Cowboys (14-8 overall, 5-4 Mountain West) made only one basket in overtime.

Here are some video highlights from the first half. Sorry, no second half or overtime highlights because I had to re-write my story for the newspapers about six different times on a tight deadline.

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UW-Nevada postgame thoughts

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:

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UW-Air Force postgame thoughts

No coach, no problem for the Wyoming men’s basketball team.

Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but despite head coach Larry Shyatt back home in Laramie with an illness the Cowboys rallied from a 15-point first half deficit to beat Air Force 66-59 Wednesday night in front of only 1,881 at Clune Arena here at the Air Force Academy.

That is by far the smallest crowd I have ever seen here for a game.

Here are some second half highlights from the game:

Shyatt is expected to be OK. Assistant Allen Edwards was the interim head coach for this game since he did the scouting report and game planning for this game. Edwards said he found out about 7:30 Wednesday morning about Shyatt, but didn’t say specifically what was wrong with him.

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UW-San Jose State postgame thoughts

Larry Nance Jr. said Wyoming’s 67-56 home win over San Jose State Saturday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie was the Cowboys best team win so far this season.

I think he is right.

Nance led the way with 18 points, 13 rebounds, five blocked shots (all in the second half). He also had two assists and two steals. Nance was good — very good in fact — but so were others. Coach Larry Shyatt described Nance as an “octopus” with the way he played — especially in the second half.

Here are some highlights from the game:

Sophomore guard Josh Adams had 16 points and a career-high seven assists. Better yet, Adams had just one turnover after he had seven turnovers at Boise State last Saturday. That was his best assist-to-turnover ration this season. The Cowboys improved to 5-2 this season when Adams leads the team in assists.

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UW-San Jose State — What to Watch

Here is one aspect of today’s Wyoming men’s basketball game with San Jose State to watch — 3-point shooting.

San Jose State wants to shoot 3s. It averages nearly 10 per game and 27 attempts per contest. The Spartans have three players that have made between 28 and 54 3s this season — led by true freshman guard Rashad Muhammad’s 54.

The Spartans made a season-high 15 3s in a game at Utah State on Jan. 4. They also attempted a season-high 40 against James Madison in November. In terms of their season lows, they made only five against Nevada and attempted 19 in three different games.

UW is fourth in the Mountain West in 3-point shooting percentage defense at 30.8 percent. In last Saturday’s 52-50 win at Boise State, the Cowboys allowed the Broncos to make 3 of 17 from long-range and none in the second half.

As for the Cowboys, they are a decent 3-point shooting team at 37.6 percent. Junior guard Riley Grabau entered this week leading the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (51.9). Two other players are shooting better than 40 percent — true freshman guard Trey Washington III (48 percent) and senior guard Jerron Granberry (44.1 percent).