LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -- It was almost like Colorado State played
against two teams on Saturday -- one in the first half, another in
the second half -- and it was second-half Wyoming which won, 69-56.
The Cowboys (11-8, 3-3 Mountain West Conference) sealed the win
on six of six free throws and a last-second layup by Jay Straight.
The end couldn't have been more different than the first
two-thirds, which were dominated by the Rams (9-10, 1-5).
Wyoming trailed by 10 when Colorado State began losing control
early in the second period. The Cowboys tied the game 39-39 on a
13-3 run that included three 3-pointers -- two by Dion Sherrell and
one by Straight.
Sherrell and Straight then added one 3-pointer apiece over the
next couple minutes, giving the Pokes a 47-41 lead.
"The first half we spent too much time studying and looking,"
Cowboys head coach Steve McClain said. "The second half we did
more of what we do in practice all week."
Colorado State came within 59-53 with 1:54 left on a 3-pointer
by Sean Morris. But the Rams would come no closer.
McClain, however, said the game was never out of Colorado
State's reach, and it was Wyoming's defense which won it: "They
were frustrated," he said of his players at the half. "But yeah,
defensively they were fine.
"The one thing this team is understanding, is if you have the
mentality on defense, at some point you're going to get a run."
Colorado State head coach Dale Layer said Wyoming's experience
and his team's inexperience showed. "We're getting better," he
said. "We just need to stretch it into longer than 25-30 minutes
of good basketball, and that is what we had here tonight."
He said his team was a bit slow on shooting and the Wyoming fans
helped the Pokes get things happening. "They are an emotional team
and they had 10,000 people behind them and that gave them great
energy. Emotional teams have that capacity."
Layer contrasted the large amount of playing time for his young
team and the end-of-the-game court time for Wyoming's freshmen. "I
told our guys that they played really hard and that I am proud of
their effort," he said.
The Rams finished shooting 29.8, while Wyoming was 35.6 percent.
The Cowboys shot just 20.7 percent in the first half. Colorado
State didn't fare much better, hitting 31 percent.
The Rams battered the Pokes over the first 20 minutes, leading
18-7 just 8 minutes into the game on free throws by Stuart Creason.
Colorado State entered the second half with a 30-22 lead.
Wyoming leads the series 121-80, including 73-36 in Laramie. In
Mountain West Conference games, the Cowboys lead 9-4.
Straight's layup as the clock ran up came after Wyoming appeared
content to let the clock run out. "I just flipped the ball up at
the basket," he said. "I didn't expect it to count."