UW-Air Force men’s hoops; 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming’s game today at Air Force, which starts at noon MT and will be televised on Root Sports.

1. Come together: The news Friday morning rocked everyone who follows UW basketball when the school announced that senior forward Larry Nance Jr. has a mild

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

case of mononucleosis. Not sure what “mild” means, but he is listed as day-to-day. I will be surprised if he plays, and many remember what happened when Nance hurt his knee last year. But it’s way too early to hit the panic button with this. Yes, it’s not good or ideal, but if Nance misses a game or two, fine — as long as he gets better. A silver lining in all this is UW has a lot of players that has been through this kind of adversity, and it needs to feed off that with guys like senior guards Riley Grabau and Charles Hankerson Jr., senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. and junior guard Josh Adams. The Cowboys need to come together as a team, and has the make-up to do so.

Here is my video preview of today’s game:

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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-Colorado State men’s hoops: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

My three keys for Wyoming men’s basketball in tonight’s Border War versus Colorado State. Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. Offense vs. Defense: Colorado State (19-3 overall, 6-3 MW) leads the league in scoring at 74 points per game. UW is fourth in the nation in scoring defense (53.9 ppg). The Cowboys got the better end in the first game, a 60-54 victory at Moby Arena on Jan. 7

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

as they held the Rams to 34 percent shooting and 2 of 14 from 3-point range. UW can’t get into a track meet in this game, yet will need to take advantage of some fast-break points when it can.

“You have to be alert and on edge every single possession,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “What we have to do better (tonight) is during those first eight to 10 seconds on defense. When they rebound that ball they fly it up the floor. They have enough outstanding offensive players they can insult you in transition.”

2. Play smart in the post: UW is undermanned inside as redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. will have to shoulder the load inside, which they so for the most part anyway. However, Herndon averaged nearly 18 minutes per game in conference play so Nance and Cooke will have to play smart and avoid foul trouble, and Shyatt and staff will have a challenge in terms of managing those minutes. The Cowboys could go with a small lineup at times with only one post, but those times may be few and far between as Colorado State has four bigs who see time and can run the floor.

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UW-Colorado State men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Matt Stephens, who helps cover Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, about Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off between the two teams is at 7 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @MattStephens

The Rams are 19-3 and 6-3 in the league. As of late, what has this team been doing well?

Colorado State has done a much better job of having each player realize what he’s good at. If you look at Tiel Daniels, he’s starting to utilize more of his strength. In the loss to

Matt Stephens

Matt Stephens

Wyoming, there was a point in the first half where he had an easy dunk had he just gone up with the ball after catching it in the post. Instead, he puts it on the floor and has three guys surround him leading to a five-second violation.

Point guard John Gillon has continued to be a spark plug hitting big 3-pointers, Daniel Bejarano knows when to put on the gas and make big plays himself or pass the ball off, and J.J. Avila’s free-throw shooting is getting better. Colorado State’s success lately has been guys doing what they’re good at instead of trying to be players they’re not.

 

Two of the three conference losses have come on the road — against good teams like New Mexico and Boise State. What areas of the game did Colorado State struggle at in those losses, and in particular the 82-78 loss at Boise State on Jan. 27?

At New Mexico, it was just the offense in general, but at Boise State, the Rams got too comfortable. They got off to a poor start, overcame the deficit, then played most the game with a nice lead.

Queue Derrick Marks, the one Boise State player who killed them at Taco Bell Arena two seasons ago. He did it again by scoring 28 points Jan. 27. CSU let him do what he wanted on the floor and it killed any momentum the Rams had.

Scoring 78 points should be enough to win a college basketball game, but Colorado State’s defense had a rare breakdown. Of course, the late technical (regardless whether it was warranted or not) against coach Larry Eustachy played a big role in momentum, leading to a four-point possession for the Broncos. Colorado State lost that game by four points.

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

My three keys for Wyoming’s men’s basketball game vs. Nevada today, which tips off at 4 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie:

Larry Nance

Larry Nance

1. Nance vs. West: Two of the better big men in the Mountain West will go against each other today in Wyoming senior Larry Nance Jr. and Nevada junior AJ West. Nance leads UW in scoring (16.4 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg) and blocked shots (1.1 bpg), and those figures go up to 19.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 1.3 bpg in league play. West is one of 19 players in the country that averages a double-double (12.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg). He also averages nearly three blocks per game, and leads the nation in offensive rebounds (6.1 per game). These two have formed a nice rivalry over the last year or so.

Here is my video preview on the game:


2. Second-chance points: West isn’t the only player for Nevada that crashes the offensive glass. Nevada averages more than 15 offensive rebounds per game. UW must do a good job of defensive rebounding and not giving the Wolf Pack second and third chances at baskets.

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UW-Utah State men’s hoops: 3 takes, notes, quotes and video

My three takes from Wyoming’s 56-44 loss at Utah State Tuesday night.

1. It was bound to happen sometime: Meaning a team was going to take away UW senior forward Larry Nance Jr. inside and make the Cowboys win by shooting from the outside. Even though Nance had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, he was 7 of 15 from the field and six of his shots were outside of the paint. Utah State’s zone defense, with is long and athletic players, wreaked havoc. UW had 14 turnovers, including a season-high by junior guard Josh Adams. The Cowboys shot just 36 percent and was 30.4 from 3-point range. They also got to the free-throw line only three times.

Here is Nance after the game:


2. Turnover trouble: UW came into the game averaging 12.6 turnovers in league play, and the 14 turnovers in this game marked the fifth straight game where its had 13 or more. Utah State scored 14 points off UW’s turnovers in this game. That must improve moving forward. Discouraging from this game was Adams and Grabau combined for 10 turnovers. Said Grabau: “We’ve got to clean that up, and I have to do a better job as the point guard leading the team. I put that stuff on me. I need to put the guys where they need to be and take care of the ball.”

Here is coach Larry Shyatt after the game:


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UW-New Mexico men’s hoops: 3 takes, notes, quotes and VIDEO

My three takes from Wyoming’s 63-62 overtime win over New Mexico Saturday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie:

1. Similar to last week for Nance: UW senior forward Larry Nance Jr. missed a free throw with 14.9 seconds left to play in overtime that would have tied the game. But a few seconds later, he stole the ball and ended up with the game-winning dunk with 3.2 seconds left. In UW’s 70-65 triple overtime win at Fresno State last week, Nance missed two free throws with 0.5 seconds left in the second overtime that would have won the game. “Apparantly its my thing to miss clutch free throws late when we win,” Nance said. Still, Nance finished with a team-high 23 points, and was 11 of 13 from the line. He also had six rebounds, five turnovers, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Only one of those turnovers came in the second half and overtime.

Here are late-game highlights, including Nance’s steal and dunk in the final seconds, and player interviews after the game:

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UW-New Mexico men’s basketball: 3 keys, notes, quotes and video

Three keys for Wyoming in its game today against New Mexico, which tips off at 2 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. No 3s for Greenwood: New Mexico senior guard Hugh Greenwood shoots 30.1 percent from 3-point range. But he made six 3s in each of the Lobos’ last two road games — both wins. A lot of different New Mexico players can hurt UW today, but the Cowboys can’t let Greenwood go off from the perimeter or it could be a long afternoon.

2. Make perimeter shots: New Mexico will play 11 guys, and there is no shortage of post players it can turn to. UW needs its offense to feed off of senior forward Larry Nance Jr. inside, but the Cowboys probably won’t get New Mexico into foul trouble. The Lobos and a long and athletic squad, so to loosen things up inside, the Cowboys need to make some perimeter shots.

3. Feed off the atmosphere: UW’s largest crowd in 10 years is expected to be there today (10,000-plus). The players need to feed off that energy, especially early. They can’t be too amped up and make silly mistakes, but if they can grab some early momentum and go with it, it could be a fun afternoon at the A-A.

Here is my video preview of today’s game:


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VIDEO: Cowboys Coaches Clinic; UW senior guard Riley Grabau talks free throws

This is the second of a season-long video series on University of Wyoming men’s basketball on how it coaches and works on certain aspects of the game.

In this edition, senior guard Riley Grabau shows you what he does when getting ready to shoot free throws. Grabau leads the nation in free-throw percentage at 94.7 percent. He’s made 33 in a row, all in conference play, and his career percentage of 87.3 percent is the best in school history.

For more UW basketball and sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, log on to wyosports.net and check back to this blog.

Video by Robert Gagliardi/WyoSports.

UW-San Diego St. 3 things to watch, along with notes, quotes and prediction

Three things to watch tonight as the 25th-ranked Wyoming Cowboys host San Diego State at 9 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie:

1. Ball security: San Diego State leads the MW in turnovers forced with 15 per game. UW averages around 11, but had 13 and 17, respectively, in games last week against Boise State and Colorado State. The Cowboys can’t give the Aztecs extra possessions off turnovers.

2. Crashing the glass: San Diego State has about a six-rebound advantage on UW, although the Cowboys — in terms of defensive rebounds — have done a good job this season. UW must hold its own on the glass, and not allow San Diego State a lot of second-chance points.

3. Who makes some perimeter shots?: Meaning for UW as you know that San Diego State, and its 1-3-1 zone, will try to pack the middle to take away senior forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. Someone, or multiple guys, will need to make some outside shots to either take the Aztecs out of that zone or loosen it up.

For more on the game, here is my video preview:


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