Cow­boys Almost Upset BYU

Heath Schroyer

Cow­boys head coach Heath Schroy­er dis­cuss­es the final minute of the Cow­boys game­plan. (John McK­night / LFP)

In back to back games the Wyoming Cow­boys had to face top ten teams. BYU came into the AA ranked #8 and was look­ing for an easy win against a strug­gling Wyoming team. The Cow­boys may be strug­gling but they are not will­ing to lie down and die. The game start­ed with Wyoming get­ting the first bas­ket. Not long after Wyoming had a 4–0 lead, this game start­ed in the hands of the Cow­boys. Less than four min­utes into the game the teams saw the first tie of the game. The next two min­utes were filled with intense play but no scor­ing. This drought was brought to an end when Cruz drained a three; this bas­ket led to a six point Wyoming run but BYU answered with a run of their own. Emery start­ed the run by mak­ing a layup and it came to an end after 15 points. Wyoming went from up six to down nine in six min­utes. Des­mar end­ed this run and took the game over. The Cow­boys got back into the game with team work and Des­mar who had eight points in the last six min­utes. The first half was a half of streaks where one team would take over and then the oth­er team would. Nei­ther team played bad it was just one team would play bet­ter for a stretch then the oth­er team would step it up. These streaks end­ed the half in a tie. The sec­ond half was played a lit­tle dif­fer­ent by both teams. The sec­ond half had five ties and four lead changes. The first half saw a num­ber of streaks while the sec­ond half saw more bal­anced play. The game stayed close for the first ten min­utes of the half as nei­ther team could out play the oth­er. After the mid­point of the half BYU start­ed to pull away and yet nev­er grew the lead high­er than ten points. BYU may have had the lead but the Cow­boys nev­er gave up. With 2:05 Wyoming was only down by one and look­ing to take the game over. The score stayed with Wyoming down one until Fre­dette showed why he is one of the best play­ers in the nation. With 47 sec­onds left he made a shot and was fouled giv­ing BYU a four point lead. Thi­am was then fouled mak­ing the deficit two again. 29 sec­onds was just not enough time for the Cow­boys to regain the lead. Wyoming was forced to foul which led to BYU win­ning by 7.

A sev­en point win is pret­ty good giv­en BYU’s nation­al rank­ing. BYU is fifth in the nation in scor­ing aver­ag­ing 84.2 points a game. Wyoming held this high scor­ing team to only 69 points which is their low­est scor­ing game this year. BYU also has Jim­mer Fre­dette who is the nation’s lead­ing scor­er this sea­son aver­ag­ing just short of 28 points. Wyoming held Jim­mer to 26 points of which ten of them came at the free throw line. He is shoot­ing the ball 48% on the sea­son but Wyoming held him to 7–21 field goals and 2–11 from deep. He is one of the best play­ers this year and Wyoming held him to one of his worst shoot­ing games. The first half was not just even in scor­ing but most oth­er stats also. BYU had the advan­tage in turnovers and steals but every­thing else was pret­ty close. Even though BYU won the game Wyoming stayed close in most stats.

Adam Waddell

Adam Wad­dell goes for a pass before step­ping out of bounds against BYU. (John McK­night / LFP)

Wyoming matched BYU pret­ty well with indi­vid­ual scor­ing. Both teams had three play­ers score dou­ble dig­its. For Wyoming Des­mar, Cruz and Thi­am count­ed for 51 of the team’s total points. Des­mar had 23 points which was just three behind Jim­mer. Cruz was one rebound short of a dou­ble-dou­ble but he still fin­ished with 16 points, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. Thi­am had 12 points and 3 blocks for the Cow­boys. All three of the play­ers had big games which was a lot of the rea­son the Cow­boys kept the game close.

After the game team spir­it was high even though they did not win. Lus­ter talked about how they could have won this game but they had a few emp­ty pos­ses­sions. “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take,” is what Lus­ter said about turnovers. Schroy­er brought up that not many play­ers can play right now and some have to play lim­it­ed min­utes. He went on to say, “Wad­dell had an MRI on his foot today and I have no idea what the results will be,” to explain why Adam did not play much. He said that it is the same foot that was hurt before but it is a dif­fer­ent part. When Schroy­er was asked how the team took care of Jim­mer he respond­ed by say­ing, “We did every­thing we could.” He talked about how they kept chang­ing the play­er that was guard­ing him so that way he could not get com­fort­able. Lus­ter talked about how they prac­tice oth­er defens­es all week but stuck with man for the full game. Man defense worked so there was no need to change but it was good to be ready. Fre­dette is a great play­er that has went off for 30+ points a few times this year and Wyoming held him in check. It may have been only by about a bas­ket but the Cow­boys held the nation’s lead­ing scor­er under his aver­age. No mat­ter how it is looked at Wyoming had a great game even though they lost. With what they accom­plished in this game they showed that they can play with the best teams in the nation. Con­fer­ence play is now half over and the Cow­boys believe the sec­ond half will be bet­ter than the first.