Wyoming men's basketball has undoubtedly suffered the past two seasons, with a total record of 20-42 and settling at the bottom of conference play. The program's last road win came in the 2008-09 season.
Larry Shyatt and his quickly-improved team broke that sad statistic Friday night after a second-half shootout against the Colorado Buffaloes.
While Wyoming has not played any remarkably good teams thus far (pre-conference season scheduling often involves lower-tier schools), the win against a team who was expected to land a spot in the NCAA tournament should be all the reason to reverse any doubts about a repeat losing season.
Now 9-1, the Cowboys were led by Wyoming native Adam Wadell who took advantage of the charity stripe, knocking down seven free throws and amassing a total of 17 points. Leonard Washington, who is proving to be a dominating threat on both ends of the floor, had 16 points and seven rebounds and Luke Martinez came out with 15 in the win.
Wyoming is already one win away from tying for its win total from last season.
The Cowboys have been a strong-finishing, second-half team all year. Many a game they fallen behind early, only to come back and keep it close at the half (the match against the Bradley Braves was also tied at half), and shot lights out in the second, not to mention coming up with extremely strong defensive pressure. In fact, the Cowboys held the Buffs to only 33 percent shooting in the second half.
Is it an intentional scheme on Shyatt, who is no stranger to successful college basketball strategy? In feature news articles and reviews, Shyatt claims that creating chaos is the key as a way to throw off the opposition.
Whatever the case, the Cowboys are winning and the hype over Shyatt's return is well deserved. They are rapidly shaking off the adversity of previous losing seasons and finding ways to dominate on the court, but they need support from the fan base.
The Arena Auditorium in Laramie has a capacity of 15,000 and maintains a reputation of one of the toughest places to play in the Mountain West thanks to its 7,220-foot elevation. However, the once intimidating and sellout crowds have dropped to eerily quiet numbers struggling to exceed 4,000. With a tough stretch starting in January against a tough conference, including nationally recognized New Mexico and UNLV, it is time for Poke Pride to come out in full force and keep the win streak alive.