Larry Nance Jr. was good once again and a couple of other players showed some good things in brief stretches.
But in the end, SMU was too big, physical and deep for Wyoming as the Cowboys lost 62-54 Friday night at the Arena-Audidtorium in Laramie.
Nance and coach Larry Shyatt said it was UW’s second-half defense that cost them this game. A 10 minute scoring drought to end the first half and to start the second where UW didn’t make a basket didn’t help, either, nor did the fact UW didn’t make a basket in the final 4:20 of the game.
Here are some highlights of some of UW’s scoring chances late in the game:
Nance said he played soft once he picked up his third foul early in the second half. Maybe, but he was UW’s only consistent player in this game with 16 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
Nance had nine points and only three rebounds in the second half and sat for about six minutes. He talks about what happened to UW in the second half in this video interview:
Wyoming senior forward Leonard Washington proved that he is, and just about anything else he wants to be on the court in Wyoming’s 59-56 win at SMU Wednesday night in Dallas.
I wasn’t at the game so it is hard to go into great detail. But Washington scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, and 13 over the last six minutes of the game.
Washington also had 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and 12th of his career.
Washington had consecutive 3s when UW was down by four points. He even banked one in. A big offensive rebound where he was fouled late in the game. He made only one free throw (UW wasn’t good at the line in the game at 12 of 21), but made up for it with a steal and dunk to seal the victory in the final seconds.
How Wyoming plays without senior guard Luke Martinez today at SMU has to be one of the biggest questions for the Cowboys.
Martinez fractured a bone in his right hand in an “off-campus incident” according to the school and is out indefinitely. How will UW replace his 14.5 points per game and 25 steals?
It won’t be by one person, although sophomore guard Riley Grabau is expected to start for Martinez today. This will be a chance for Grabau, true freshman Josh Adams and junior-college transfer Nathan Sobey to step up.
Who else do you think needs to step up their game for the Cowboys while Martinez is out?
Thursday was the first day the Wyoming men’s basketball team returned to Laramie from Christmas break, and it was the first of three days where the team will work on itself before getting into game prep mode for Wednesday’s game at SMU.
“We knew it was going to be a short break, but we still have a lot of business to take care of so we’re excited to be back,” senior point guard Derrious Gilmore said.
It’s been an up-and-down few weeks for the Cowboys. They had 10 days off (at least from games) between Dec. 8-18 for final exams. They then played two games in four days before coach Larry Shyatt gave them a few days off for Christmas.
After UW’s 56-40 win over UC-Santa Barbara on Dec. 21, the players said they were excited to have a short break, but were even more excited to get back to work and build off a 12-0 start.
That sentiment remained the same when the players returned to Laramie.
“The breaks helped us and made us work that much harder to accomplish what we want,” Gilmore said.
Added sophomore guard Riley Grabau added: “We’ve had a good start but it’s not over yet. “We have to keep building it up that we can become a contender. Just work hard and get back in the right mindset.”