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
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.