Upset at the AA

Moun­tain West play has begun and after a tough loss in the con­fer­ence open­er at CSU the Cow­boys were ready for the home open­er. Wyoming’s first home Moun­tain West game came Sat­ur­day against a real­ly good New Mex­i­co team. New Mex­i­co came into this game with only three loss­es on the sea­son. The play­ers knew they would be in for a bat­tle but a lock down defense and a hot offense gave the Cow­boys an ear­ly lead. Sev­en min­utes in the Cow­boys were shoot­ing 71% while hold­ing the Lobos to 33% from the field. At the 9:57 mark, Har­ri­son hit a big three to give the Cow­boys a four point lead and a lit­tle momen­tum but New Mex­i­co kept it close. The speed of the Lobos gave Wyoming some trou­ble late in the first half and shift­ed the momen­tum to New Mex­i­co. These trou­bles saw New Mex­i­co go on a run. A ques­tion­able block­ing foul called on Lus­ter added to the strug­gles Wyoming was fac­ing. Fol­low­ing the foul Jack­son had a block which sparked a fire for the Cow­boys. Wyoming put up a fight and Har­ri­son nailed a three as the buzzer sound­ed to give the Cow­boys a one point lead enter­ing the half.The sec­ond half start­ed with both teams strug­gling to get any­thing going. It was not until Des­mar went to the line over a minute into the half that either team added points to the score board. The sec­ond half found the Cow­boys in a shoot­ing slump. Wyoming did not get a field goal until the 15:20 mark in the sec­ond half. Even with the bad luck shoot­ing the Cow­boys were only down by one after mak­ing their first sec­ond half bas­ket. A minute lat­er Gor­don was fouled and missed both free throws for the Lobos. Wyoming got the rebound and at this point they start­ed to get their thun­der back. This led to a sev­en point Cow­boy run that came to an end when a foul sent the Lobos back to the char­i­ty stripe. With 57 sec­onds left New Mex­i­co drained a three to tie the game. The game came down to the wire but in the end Cruz came up big. Cruz dropped in the game win­ner releas­ing the ball right before the clock hit 0. After a review of the shot the crowed went crazy when it was sig­naled the shot was good.

The first half of the game was phys­i­cal but the sec­ond half became much more phys­i­cal. With both teams step­ping up the phys­i­cal play the sec­ond half saw a lot of fouls for both teams. At times the fouls slowed the pace of the game but it nev­er low­ered the inten­si­ty. Both teams had play­ers in fouls trou­ble but this did not slow either team down. As the sec­ond half neared the end play­ers start­ed to foul out. This meant with the game on the line these play­ers could only sit on the bench and watch. Not only was the game phys­i­cal it was also a very fast paced game. The fast tem­po worked well for both teams but there were times when it appeared to be too much. The fast pace and tough defens­es caused both teams to have high num­bers in the turnover col­umn.

Adam Wad­dell has strug­gled all sea­son due to injuries in the past. His strug­gles have been not only hard on him but the whole team. He has been lim­it­ed in his min­utes because his knee has not been able to take the stress. He said Christ­mas break helped his knee heal and he showed it was feel­ing bet­ter on the court. He played 23 min­utes Sat­ur­day and was very pro­duc­tive. He put up 16 points which was only one behind Har­ri­son who led the team. Adam led the team with eight rebounds while also get­ting two blocks and a steal. The team was glad to have him back and they all hope that he is able to keep play­ing at this lev­el. After the game he claimed that he felt great and believes he will be able to con­tin­ue play­ing this way. Even if he is not back to 100% it was great that he was able to play as well as he did against a real­ly good team.

Wyoming may have strug­gled to get shots to drop at times dur­ing the game but when it mat­tered most they got them to fall. It is not very often that a game has buzzer beat­ers at the end of both halves and it is even more rare for one team to have both buzzer beat­ers. The fact that the Cow­boys were able to sink both of these buzzer beat­ers was amaz­ing and the fact that they did it against such a good team made it even bet­ter. In the last few years Wyoming has played the Lobos hard at home but New Mex­i­co kept tak­ing these close games. For Wyoming to final­ly get a home win against the Lobos was great accom­plish­ment which was made bet­ter by the way they won it. Fans love a when their teams wins by a large mar­gin but they love it just as much when their team wins in the fash­ion that Wyoming did in this game.

After the game Cruz had to be the hap­pi­est per­son in Wyoming. The look on his face showed the joy he was feel­ing and the way he was talk­ing made it appear his deed had not ful­ly caught up with him yet. When he was asked about his game win­ning shot his glow became more intense. The answer he gave was sim­ple and showed how hum­ble he is, “It was just luck man.” He shot a three with sev­en sec­onds left and he said he was sure that shot was going to go in. It did not go in but he got a rebound off Harrison’s miss and with only two sec­onds left threw it up and that one did drop. He did say he knew the shot was on time and when it left his hands he knew it was going in. Coach Heath Schroy­er said, “It was the longest 30 sec­onds” and went on to say, “It felt like 30 min­utes” when talk­ing about the few sec­onds after the game while the offi­cials reviewed the shot. He went on to say a num­ber great things about Cruz. He talked about how impor­tant Cruz is to the team and how well he was able to make the change from junior col­lege.

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