clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wyoming men make a push for the 3rd seed

New, comments

Despite clunkers against UNLV and Fresno, Wyoming is still alive for a first round bye

NCAA Basketball: Fresno State at Wyoming
“aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh”- hayden, probably
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Wyoming men have gone 5-2 in their last seven games. Those seven games feature a double overtime win against a ranked Nevada, an overtime win at San Jose State, and a double overtime comeback win at Colorado State. Sense a theme?

Exhaustion started to rear its head in that CSU game, where the Cowboys were down by as much as 14 in both halves.

The Cowboys’ problems compounded and combined in the worst way against Fresno. Between the tendency to lag behind at the beginning of games and what amounted to an extra half of basketball, the Cowboys trailed by double digits for a majority of the game.

But that doesn’t mean the season is lost. Wyoming is still third in the conference with a record of 15-8 (6-4). They have a one game lead on Fresno and New Mexico and play both of those teams later in the season. They’ve also lost to both teams. A loss to either (or both) would take away Wyoming’s advantage of beating Nevada in the tiebreakers.

On top of that, Wyoming has shown a tendency to play to their competition. I mean, back-to-back overtime games against one of the best teams in the nation and one of the worst? If that’s not playing to your competition, I don’t know what is.

Wyoming rebounded from the Fresno State loss against Utah State to the tune of an 85-63 victory. The Cowboys opened up a 13 point lead by halftime and never looked back, leading by as much as 23.

Justin James also bounced back from his less-than-stellar performance against Fresno, where he scored less than ten points for the first time since conference play started. James finished the game with 14 points, while teammate Hayden Dalton led all scorers with 27 points.

Next up was a game against UNLV, a team with the most potent offense in the conference and a victory earlier that week against Nevada at home.

Wyoming started out slow, a common theme this year. They quickly fell into a 19-2 hole only seven minutes into the game. Cody Kelley owned Wyoming’s only points up to that point.

They clawed back, only to fall behind again, this time by 21 points, before bringing it to a ten point deficit at halftime.

Believe it or not, Wyoming actually led in this game: 50-49, for exactly 18 seconds. It seems like a miracle, a little pure moment in an otherwise forgettable but teachable game.

Wyoming’s comeback fell short as UNLV pulled away, finishing the game at a score of 70-85.

UNLV had four starters finish with double digits in points, while Wyoming had two. Shakur Juiston led all scorers with 22 points, but Hayden Dalton wasn’t far behind with 21.

With three weeks left in the regular season, the 3rd through 8th seeds in the conference are all within 2.5 games of each other.

Wyoming plays four of those teams in their last six games, starting with San Diego State on Wednesday.