The season has been an up-and-down one for Wyoming men’s basketball so far with a 7-8 overall record.
Same can be said for the Cowboys’ young post players — sophomores Jonathan Barnes and Hayden Dalton and true freshman Jordan Naughton. Dalton and Naughton are in their first years at UW. Barnes is in his second.
I’m not including sophomore Alan Herndon here, even though this is just his second year in terms of playing for the Cowboys and third year in the program. He, too, has had is ups and downs, but for now we will consider him the veteran.
Coach Larry Shyatt knew the youth and inexperience in the post would be “challenging” this season.
“Watching their development has been outstanding for us in practice,” he said. “In games it’s been a different guy on a different night stepping up or struggling. Nothing has been a surprise, but what need to do is develop a little more consistency.”
The 6-foot-8 Dalton averages 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He’s pulled down five or more rebounds in six of UW’s 15 games, but at 185 pounds it is evident that Dalton struggles against bulkier guys inside. That was evident in last Saturday’s 71-68 loss at Nevada where Dalton was 0 of 5 from the field, with many of those misses inside.
Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams doesn’t like to lose, and he often takes it hard and personally.
In UW’s 78-72 overtime loss to California last Saturday in Laramie, Adams missed a free throw with 32 seconds left that would have given the Cowboys a one-point lead.
There were several plays before and after that which played big roles in UW losing the game. Still, it was tough on Adams.
“This team competed as hard as I’ve seen them compete,” he said. “The ball bounced (Cal’s) way. They made a few more plays than we did. I’m heartbroken for this team. They left everything out there, and I couldn’t get it done for them.”
Adams has did just about everything for UW (5-3) this season. He’s fourth in the country in scoring (24.9 ppg). Adams leads the Cowboys with 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. At 6-foot-2, Adams is second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per contest, and is tied for the most defensive rebounds on the team with 29.
And, despite missing that free throw against Cal, Adams leads the Pokes at an 80.9 percent clip at the free-throw line.
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.
“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.”
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:
It was what many expected from the Wyoming men’s basketball team coming off its first loss of the season Friday at SMU.
The Cowboys hosted Division II Regis and easily won 70-35 Sunday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.
UW (8-1) held Regis (2-4) to 28.6 percent shooting, and 21.6 percent from the 7:11 mark of the first half. The Cowboys wanted the starters to get a big lead so the bench guys could log some minutes, especially since the team didn’t return from SMU until mid-afternoon Saturday.
None of UW’s starters played more than 19 minutes, but they combined to go 11 of 15 from the field.
Senior center Matt Sellers sparked a 19-5 first-half run with 12 points. Sellers scored all of his points in the game during that run as UW led 38-17 at halftime. Sellers played only nine minutes.
Redshirt freshman post Alan Herndon was impressive with seven points and career-highs with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. He had a one-handed follow up dunk in the second half that was impressive.
Here is Herndon, Sellers and true freshman center Jonathan Barnes — who had a career-high eight points and scored with a short jumper and inside — after the game:
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.