After an hour-long meeting that could’ve been settled with two emails, you walk over to the water cooler for a little chit-chat with coworkers. Immediately you find yourself bombarded with personal tragedies that are better suited for a therapist. Need a topic of conversation where you don’t robotically respond with ‘sorry to hear about that? I present to you: Water Cooler Talk. A column that simultaneously informs you on the latest news in Mountain West men’s hoops while also boosting your small talk experiences.
Upset Of The Week
As Bill hits the same talking points on the weather for the millionth week in a row, you can pivot the conversation by saying ‘Who would’ve thought UNLV would top Colorado State?’
STATEMENT MADE pic.twitter.com/32w2A8aoDG— UNLV Men's Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) January 29, 2022
In order for UNLV to come out on top against a stout Colorado State team, Bryce Hamilton needed to give a performance that set fire to the record books. After an incredible year, this will surely be his magnum opus scoring 45 points, making it the ninth most any Runnin Rebel has scored in a single game in school history.
Hamilton is a rare commodity when he could fire from the perimeter. Defenders have to guard him close up top and he can easily wiggle his way around them to drive in and hit a lay-up around the rim or draw a foul. His 11 made free throws are a great representation of this.
This was a huge letdown for the Rams as this was the first time this season that every seat in Moby was filled from courtside to the rafters.
Offensively the Rams were fine. Isaiah Stevens had a season-high 35 points and the Rams went 9-22 from three. CSU lost because they gave up a season-high 88 points, not because they scored 74.
Don’t bet your mortgage on UNLV to light the Mountain West on fire, but just keep them in the tickler fire. When Hamilton is playing poorly on offense they aren’t the same team. At the same time, don’t give up on CSU. David Roddy and Stevens are a phenomenal zoom and boom combo.
Keep An Eye Out Guy
Susan is giving you the skinny on a show that you’ve never heard of, nor will you ever see. Bored to tears, I present to you the Keep An Eye Out Guy topic. A player who someone might not be super familiar with, but should be.
If Dash from The Incredibles decided to pick up a basketball his player comp would be the University of New Mexico’s Jaelen House.
The former four-star transfer from ASU would’ve had the performance of the weekend if Hamilton didn’t drop 42.
✅First career double-double for @jaelenhouse10— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) January 29, 2022
✅First Division I player to have at least 18 points and 13 assists in a game this season
✅ Most assists in a @MountainWest conference game this season #GoLobos pic.twitter.com/3KgPjHHW1V
There’s a loosey-goosey free-spirited approach to his game that makes it feel like you’re watching someone at the park playing pick up.
In his last five games, he’s averaging 18.8 points on 53.72 percent shooting from the field and 7.2 assists.
An incredible vision where he can pull strings like Gepetto and punish a player like SJSU’s Trey Smith here for turning his back to the basket.
Equally as impressive is his ability to go from 100 to 0 to set up for wide-open shots like this floater.
A huge asset for the Lobos as they begin to climb the mountain.
That Was Unbelievable
Jim is telling you about his newfound archery hobby and doesn’t realize that when you reply with ‘damn that’s crazy’ you indeed aren’t damned nor find it crazy. This section is dedicated to an unbelievable moment where you and someone else can bask in the glory of a player’s incredible athletic abilities.
With seven seconds left on the clock and the score between Air Force and Wyoming knotted up at 61, Cowboys’ Hunter Maldonado grabbed an inbound pass and went haywire.
Zooming between defenders like a contest in American Ninja Warrior, he dodged, ducked, dipped, dived, and dodged his way into eternal glory.
It was his 31st point of the evening and earned him his own personal digital short.
If you took The Boss by James Brown and mixed it with Texas Walker Ranger it would look a little something like this.
The University of Wyoming has been awesome this year. They’ve already surpassed their win total from last year and are turning around a program that is two years removed from going 2-16 in the Mountain West.
Allow us to reintroduce ourselves.— Wyoming Cowboy Basketball (@wyo_mbb) January 30, 2022
in the Dome of DOOM! pic.twitter.com/QdJdvy930f
Lisa doesn’t realize her son’s ability to play Hot Cross Buns with his nose on the recorder isn’t “intriguing” fodder. To distance yourself as far away from this as you can I offer you the Bow Down section. This is the team that everyone should treat as a pharaoh and bow down when seeing them in the town square.
Boise State can’t stop and won’t stop winning games in cinematic fashion.
MARCUS SHAVER!— Heat Check CBB (@HeatCheckCBB) January 29, 2022
Yet ANOTHER clutch shot by the Boise State guard. pic.twitter.com/d88Cs3XUzg
The three from Shaver at the buzzer extended the game to overtime where the Broncos would eventually pull away for a school record 14th straight win.
Chances of winning were slim to none for Boise State.
HUGE win for Boise State considering that Fresno was at 98.2% on the win probability chart. They played with guts and pulled it out away. pic.twitter.com/RfDj5GEyxz— Pro Shiesty #TrustInTrask (@Pro56k) January 29, 2022
They are like Andy in Shawshank Redemption, constantly chipping away at cement and when times comes to military crawl through the sewage pipes to freedom they are able to.
Unlike Andy, this was not a solo mission.
Boise ended up with four players in double figures and went 4 of 4 from the free-throw line to end the game.
Can’t beat a team that has rock solid chemistry and hits free throws to seal the game.
AJ constantly reminds you of your shortcomings. If he’s not talking to you about his luck with ladies, then he’ll be reminiscing about his marathon training and book reading marathons. After he uses ACT words like fastidious, auspicious, and cataclysmic, you decide to turn the conversion towards talking about a team that could be a let down come March.
I present to you the San Diego State Aztecs. Part of being a let down team is being good in the first place. They handed Colorado State their first loss of the season on January 8 by pummeling them by 30 points. Following that they had two games postponed due to COVID-19 and after coming back dropped two of their last three. Losing by five to Boise State isn’t a reason for concern, but their most recent loss to a Utah State team that was on a four game losing streak was a big yikes.
The Aztecs were playing behind the 8 ball all game, leading only once by one point while the Aggies were unstoppable building leads as big as 18 at one point.
Steven Ashworth had a field day with the long ball going five of ten from beyond the arc and Justin Bean was hauling down boards like his life depended on it.
The Aztecs are still on the upper echelon of Mountain West teams, but could find themselves slowly sinking back to the bottom if things don’t get cleaned up.