The Wyoming Cowboys appear to be finding their groove in conference play. Even with head coach Larry Shyatt staying home due to illness, the Pokes (12-6, 3-2) were able to defeat the Air Force Falcons 66-59. Assistant coach Allen Edwards took over coach duties as he was in charge of scouting for tonight's game. Wyoming now has a winning record in conference play for the first time this year.
Things didn't start off ideally in Clune Arena. Air Force was able to pull away for a seven point lead at the end of the first half. The Pokes then hit 11-18 (61.1%) from the field in the second half to make up the gap and take a 56-54 lead on a three pointer by Nathan Sobey with 3:59 left in the game. With 2:21 remaining Wyoming took the lead for good and held on for the win.
While the starters scored most of the points tonight for Wyoming, it was the bench that hit clutch shots to earn the win. Charles Hankerson, Jr. hit two key shots down the stretch and finished with six points and three assists in 14 minutes. Jerron Granberry also drained two three pointers and had nine points total.
Larry Nance, Jr. nearly had another double double with his 20 points and nine rebounds. The junior forward was a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe and also added three blocks and two steals. Josh Adams had 17 points and Nathan Sobey chipped in 10. Wyoming shot 50% from the field but only 3-12 from behind the arc. The most impressive shooting performance was a team effort of 23-25 on free throws.
Air Force fell to 9-9 (3-4 MW) with three scorers finishing in double digits. Kamryn Williams (17) led the way, followed by Tre Coggins (15) and Justin Hammonds (13). The Wyoming defense held the Falcson to 39.1% shooting from the field in the second half.
Wyoming now has two key road wins in as many weeks. While they took their lumps earlier in the season, the Cowboys have really stepped up their play as of late. There is now the opportunity for them to try and make up some ground in what has turned into a fairly wide open Mountain West. Nevada is 4-1 in the Mountain West and come to Laramie this Saturday. The Wolfpack defeated the Cowboys 61-58 back in the conference opener on January 4th. This is a really intriguing game, unfortunately it won't be televised or streamed. This off-balance scheduling is throwing me off as the Pokes will finish the season series with Nevada before even playing Utah State, Colorado State, San Diego State, Fresno State or UNLV once.