Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Robert Gagliardi

Cowboys can't contain Aggies as season ends at MW Tournament


March 10, 2016

LAS VEGAS — The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team made a school-record 20 3-pointers when it played Utah State in the regular season.

Utah State responded Wednesday in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament with some impressive shooting of its own, especially in the first half, to end UW’s season.

The Aggies shot 57.6 percent and made seven 3-pointers in the first half en route to an 88-70 victory over the Cowboys at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UW, the No. 8 seed in the tournament, ended its season with a 14-18 record. Ninth-seeded Utah State (16-14) plays No. 1 seed San Diego State in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. today.

While Utah State shot the ball well, UW didn’t. The Cowboys shot 37.8 percent (19 of 51) and was 5 of 28 from 3-point range. The five 3-pointers was a season low. UW entered the game averaging 10.1 3-pointers per contest.

The Cowboys trailed by as many as 25 points in the first half and by 17 at halftime.

“I thought (Utah State) played excellent in those first eight to 10 minutes, and we did not play very well,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said. “Consequently, when they missed a shot or two they were getting loose balls and 50-50 balls. I thought it would it would change at some point.”

It did as sophomore forward Alan Herndon converted a three-point play that cut Utah State’s lead to 63-56 with 9 minutes, 46 seconds to play.

Utah State responded with five straight points, including a layup by junior wing Jalen Moore and a 3-pointer by junior guard Shane Rector.

The closest UW got after that was nine points on three different occasions, the last coming with 2:18 to play.

“We did a good job of fighting back, but we just couldn’t get any closer,” said UW junior guard Jason McManamen, who led UW with 23 points but was 2 of 10 from 3-point range and 6 of 15 from the field.

UW had only seven scholarship players available as it suspended three back-ups last week for the rest of the season for off-court behavior.

When asked if the thin bench was a factor in the game, or coming back from such a large deficit, Shyatt simply said: “no.”

Rector was a surprise starter in place of senior guard Darius Perkins. He defended UW senior guard Josh Adams much of the game, and held him to nearly seven points below his scoring average. Adams finished with 18 points but was 4 of 17 from the field and eight of his points came at the free-throw line.

“I thought he did a good job, and I didn’t produce for my team when I needed to,” Adams said.

Rector scored a game-high 24 points and was 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Shyatt said Rector was shooting less than 20 percent from 3-point range over his last few games.

Utah State let an 18-point lead slip away in an 86-85 home loss to Fresno State to end the regular season last Saturday.

“We had a lot of games (during the regular season) we felt like we should have won, and this game was turning out the same way,” said Moore, who finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists. “We put an end to their run, and kept the game at a distance that they couldn’t reach back.”

Shyatt was asked to look ahead to next season and he said: “We’ve got spring break starting next week, and we’ll take a deep breath. I’ve got some smart people around me and I’ll take their advice. When we get back from spring break, we will need to put some pounds on some interior players.”


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