Wyoming Cowboys (0-1)
- Head Coach: Allen Edwards (3rd Season)
- Top Performer: Justin James (20.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG)
- Points For: 66.0 PPG (T-225th)
- Points Against: 76.0 PPG (T-194th)
- Last Game/Streak: 76-66 Loss v. UC-Santa Barbara (1L)
When only taking into account the first game of Wyoming’s season, which ended in a ten-point defeat at the hands of UC-Santa Barbara, there may be a legitimate cause for concern for the Cowboys as the 2018-2019 campaign begins to develop.
Head coach Allen Edwards only played six players 15 minutes or more in their season opener and top-heavy core players in Justin James (20.0 PPG), Hunter Maldonado (12.0 PPG), Nyaires Redding (9.0 PPG), Jake Hendricks (8.0 PPG) and Austin Mueller (3.0 PPG) all logged at least 32 minutes of court-time.
Whether that was simple Edwards sending a message to the rest of his less-than-prepared bench about what it takes to play for their program or it was a sign of serious depth issues within the roster, either way, it didn’t help them in the bout against the Gauchos. UC-Santa Barbara looked the better team for large portions of the first half and after the intermission, Oregon State transfer guard Jaquori McLaughlin sealed up the surprise victory for the challengers.
Now, Wyoming is left to go back to the drawing board.
To find consistent victories, the Cowboys obviously need to find more pieces to rely on offensively than just Justin James, who returned to campus this year after testing out NBA Draft waters this summer. While James is one of those noted Mountain West stat-sheet fillers, rarely have those teams had long legs over the course of a season, especially as the level of competition increases. Wyoming also has to probably stop relying on their three-point shooting, which brought them to an ugly 5-29 (17.2%) mark in their opener.
The Cowboys will do what Edwards has found success with at Wyoming, which usually consists of guard-heavy line-ups and free-flowing offensive basketball, but to win at the end of the day, this team simply has to bring more to the table. Either the Cowboys will come together as a group on Saturday against the Beavers, or it’ll be just another night of the Justin James solo show on the road.
Player To Watch
Justin James (Senior): An effortless scorer and statistical nightmare, Justin James’ NBA Draft stock is probably a bit under-valued (ahem, West Coast bias) at the moment, due maybe to the fact that he is just another mid-major star traversing the college basketball landscape. The fact of the matter is that while James will take the majority of the Cowboys’ shots and have the ball in his hands most of the times, he also can be worn down on the defensive end, if Oregon State can create mis-matches with him.
- Date: Saturday, November 10th
- Time: 12:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Networks