Even though the weather and the road prevented me from going to the game, it wouldn’t matter if you saw Wyoming play in person, on TV, listened on the radio or read a box score — the seniors took center stage on Senior Night.
Wyoming beat TCU 71-59 in arguably its best offensive game in Mountain West play to date.
One turnover and 18 assists on 28 baskets says it all. So does shooting nearly 54 percent from the field.
Junior forward Leonard Washington led UW with 23 points and 12 rebounds and he was impressive with his second straight double-double.
But senior point guard JayDee Luster had seven assists and no turnovers, senior guard Francisco Cruz had 19 points and senior center Adam Waddell added 14 points.
Cruz got off to a fast start, which is always good for the Cowboys. So did Waddell.
Even senior walk-on Rob Watsabaugh scored a basket. But not in garbage time, at the beginning of the game — UW’s first basket in fact. Coach Larry Shyatt started five seniors, a class move by the way.
There were a few kind bounces for the Cowboys on some shots, but really, UW was simply dominant.
To me the key play in the game was in the second half when TCU cut the lead to 47-42. UW got a stop defensively and Luster fed Waddell for a dunk. That pretty much ended TCU’s run and the Cowboys took control from there.
Per usual, UW played good defense and held TCU senior guard Hank Thorns to just 10 points on 2 of 11 shooting. TCU made a few 3s, and UW could have won by a lot more if it didn’t miss eight free throws.
TCU coach Jim Christian told Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after the game: “We just played awful. From the first play of the game we didn’t play with any passion.”
TCU didn’t play like the team that beat UNLV and New Mexico at home. It played like the team that had won only on conference road game.
UW certainly played with passion. After the game Shyatt was with five of his seniors in a post-game interview with TV, and you could see he was getting choked up in terms of what these seniors have meant to him in the first year of his second stint with the program.
The Cowboys earned their first 20-win season since 2002-03. They are still in sixth place in the MW standings. Right now, UW fans should be cheering for UNLV to beat Colorado State tomorrow in Fort Collins, and for Air Force to beat CSU Saturday at the academy for any shot of moving up to that fourth or fifth spot.
And of course, UW can help itself a lot with a win at No. 17 UNLV Saturday night.
For more on the game, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.