Wyoming dug a deep hole that they just couldn't get out of in Boise.
Before the game even started you knew it would be tough game for Wyoming. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. warmed up with the team but was unable to play due to a sore wrist. That mean the shorthanded Pokes were down a key starter and were also going to have a much smaller lineup. Freshman Jason McManamen got his first start as Wyoming went with a four guard lineup.
The offense struggled for the Pokes in first half as only Leonard Washington and Derrious Gilmore were able to score. Wyoming shot just 36% from the field, 18% from 3 point and only hit one of three free throw attempts. Meanwhile Boise State got off to a hot start thanks to shooting 56% from the field.
While the Cowboys offense got in track later it is really hard to erase an 18 point deficit. When it was all said and done Gilmore had finished with a game high 26 points. Meanwhile Washington notched another double double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. It has been great to see Gilmore step up his game over the last three weeks. He has been the most effective outside shooter for Wyoming lately. That was a huge weakness for the team when Martinez was first suspended.
While the losses have piled up lately the Cowboys have been playing better and getting much better production out of their bench. McManamen has seen more minutes lately and he can likely end up being a Luke Martinez
clone down the road.. He is already similar size wise and can shoot outside. The more experience he gets this year, the better he will be next year. In the win over UC Bakerfield he had a career high 10 points. Derek Cooke Jr
. had six rebounds and his play has improved as well.
Wyoming now sits at 16-7 (2-7) and has two very important home games this week. The Cowboys are tied for last place in the conference with Fresno State. Nevada is one game ahead with a 3-6 record, the Wolf Pack come to the AA on Wednesday night. On Saturday the Bulldogs will venture to Laramie. A couple of wins here would be huge for Wyoming. It would give the Pokes a sweep of the series with Nevada and help keep the Pokes out of the pigtail game.
An NCAA tournament berth is very small right now but a couple more conference wins would go a long ways towards securing a solid NIT seed.