Lan­g­ley Gets First Win

This week in Cow­boy bas­ket­ball has been real­ly crazy. With Heath Schroy­er being fired it is hard to know what the future holds for the pro­gram. The game against TCU was the team’s first home game with­out Schroy­er on the bench. A num­ber of the play­ers have only known Heath as their coach hav­ing only played under him. Although the Cow­boys played in New Mex­i­co on Feb­ru­ary 6th this was the first time fans real­ly got to see what the team will look like for the rest of the sea­son. When the Cow­boys took the floor against the Horned Frogs they were a new team. The sea­son may be near­ing the end but the Cow­boys saw this game as a new begin­ning. The play­ers seemed to like Heath but there is no time to dwell on the past.

TCU and Wyoming are teams that are both strug­gling. TCU entered the game on a sev­en game los­ing streak; their last win came on Jan­u­ary 12th against Wyoming. The Cow­boys came into the game on an eight game los­ing streak. Both teams with long streaks of the worst kind fac­ing each oth­er one team had to get a win.When Wyoming took the floor it was obvi­ous things were going to be dif­fer­ent. The start­ing line­up for the Cow­boys was: Amath, Har­ri­son, Thi­am, Lus­ter, and Cruz. The game played for a minute when Lus­ter was brought out of the game not to return. After four min­utes of play Wyoming had their first lead at 5–4. The next four and a half min­utes were up and down as both teams trad­ed points. After that the Cow­boys took over and held the lead for the remain­der of the half. The first half Wyoming looked like a team. Every­body played togeth­er and they had ball move­ment. Every­body who was able to play played which is some­thing new for the team. The Cow­boys want­ed to con­trol the

Desmar Jackson

Des­mar Jack­son goes up to score. Jack­son scored 15 points against the TCU Horned Frogs. (John McK­night /LFP)

speed of the game and they did just that. TCU had to play how Wyoming want­ed them to play. Wyoming record­ed ten team fouls in the first half show­ing that chang­ing play­ing style this late in the sea­son is not easy. In the sec­ond half TCU put up a fight but they were nev­er able to take the lead from Wyoming. It seemed like nei­ther team could get good shots to fall; it looked like both teams shot poor­ly in the sec­ond half. This was not the case though as both teams shot exact­ly 53.8%, it is crazy but both teams shot 14–26 in the sec­ond half. For the major­i­ty of the half TCU kept the game close not let­ting Wyoming get more than a nine point lead until the 4:20 mark. Wyoming was on top for the entire sec­ond half but TCU did get with­in one a few times. The last few min­utes were intense with the Cow­boys try­ing to hold on to a dou­ble dig­it win and TCU want­i­ng to get back in the game. When the final buzzer went off Wyoming had a ten point lead. This gave the Cow­boys their sec­ond Moun­tain West win and their first win since Jan­u­ary 8th.

Lus­ter played only one minute against TCU due to sore­ness. He has been stiff and not able to go full speed since the New Mex­i­co game. He tried to play in this game but very quick­ly found out that he was not going to be able to play with­out pain. Look­ing at him on the bench it appeared he missed being on the court but at the same time he did not look as though he want­ed to go back in. Lus­ter is a tough play­er with a lot of heart so when he sits out it is because he is unable to play. Jack­son found him­self com­ing off the bench against TCU which is a new roll for him. He missed prac­tice one day this week for aca­d­e­m­ic rea­sons which was why he did not start. Since he under­stood the rea­son for not start­ing he had no prob­lem with it. “It was actu­al­ly kind of nice,” was what he said about it. Some oth­er play­ers may get mad in that sit­u­a­tion and may not play as well as usu­al, Des­mar did the oppo­site. He came off the bench and record­ed his first dou­ble-dou­ble. Joe Hud­son has not seen much play­ing time this year but in this game he was giv­en 22 min­utes. Cruz who has played 40 min­utes in a num­ber of games got into foul trou­ble in the sec­ond half so he had to sit for awhile but still played 31 min­utes.

Des­mar scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his first dou­ble-dou­ble. He also record­ed four assists, two blocks and a steal. He did have sev­en turnovers but his oth­er stats made up for that although the team would like that num­ber to be low­er. He did all of that com­ing off the bench and play­ing 25 min­utes, he had a great game. Amath went 7–7 from the free throw line help­ing give him a game high 21 points. He had six rebounds and two blocks giv­ing him a good game. One of his blocks could be seen as the play of the game. TCU got a steal which lead to a break­away layup attempt but Amath caught up block­ing the ball off the back­board for a Wyoming rebound. Cruz had 12 points and four rebounds, he was a lit­tle timid after get­ting into fouls trou­ble. As a team Wyoming had 16 assists and 11 steals both good num­bers for the Cow­boys.

As long as Lan­g­ley is coach­ing fans will see a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent team. Lan­g­ley coached under Heath but he wants do things his way. He wants the Cow­boys to dic­tate the speed of the game regard­less of the out­come. He plans to use the press more than Heath had done which will help con­trol the speed. Wyoming pressed in this game and it real­ly dis­rupt­ed TCU pre­vent­ing them from get­ting fast break points. The Cow­boys will most like­ly run the same plays they have all sea­son but Lan­g­ley wants more ball move­ment. He is not say­ing the team must pass the ball ten times before a shot he is just say­ing he does not want play­ers stand­ing still. “I love this alti­tude, it is an advan­tage for us,” he wants to make teams run on defense to tire them out faster. “We no longer have posi­tions, coach just calls all of us play­ers,” Har­ri­son told the media after the game. Lan­g­ley told the team that any­body could take open shots as long as they have good ball move­ment. Over all Lan­g­ley is going to run the team his way which could be strange for fans and play­ers who have got­ten used to Heath’s team. Lan­g­ley does not demand much from the team but he does expect them to work hard and give 100% in prac­tice and games. He is hav­ing them prac­tice hard­er than usu­al but this makes the play­ers more pre­pared for a fast game. “We prac­tice for a few hours and the games are only 40 min­utes so we are ready to play,” is what Har­ri­son said about the new intense prac­tices. Anoth­er thing Lan­g­ley plans to do is play every­body who is suit­ed up and capa­ble of play­ing. Hud­son played more min­utes than he has all sea­son which shows Lan­g­ley tru­ly will give min­utes to play­ers that want them. Gib­son is deal­ing with a hurt hand which is the only rea­son he did not see play­ing time in this game. “I am not afraid to play any­body,” he lat­er went on to say, “If we did not think they were good play­ers we would not have brought them here.” It will be inter­est­ing to see what the team will do in their last five games but no mat­ter what hap­pens it should be fun watch­ing the Cow­boys fin­ish the sea­son. Who will coach the team next year is still unknown and the hunt for a new coach should be inter­est­ing as well. At this point every­body should just sit back and enjoy the show.

Daylen Harrison

Daylen Har­ri­son hangs on to the ball while ref’s deter­mine who has pos­s­e­sion. Har­ri­son start­ed against TCU and picked up 3 key defen­sive rebounds. (John McK­night /LFP)