FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team played one of its most complete games in an eight-point home victory over Colorado State two weeks ago.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they had one of their more incomplete efforts in the rematch.
UW recorded as season-low in points during an 83-48 loss to Colorado State in front of 5,026 Saturday at Moby Arena. The loss is the Cowboys’ most lopsided in the history of their series with the Rams.
UW (6-21 overall, 2-12 Mountain West) lost its fourth-consecutive game, is 0-10 on the road this season, and has lost four times in conference play by 30 or more points.
Prior to Saturday, UW’s most lopsided loss in the series was 29 points in 1917. This was the 231st game between the schools. The series started in 1911.
Senior guard Justin James accounted for 93 percent of UW’s offense with 29 points and two assists. He also had 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and 14th of his career.
But only three other UW players made a basket in the game, no one else scored more than six points and the team was 2 of 24 from 3-point range. The two made 3s ties a season low.
UW’s four other starters – redshirt freshman forward Hunter Thompson, true freshman forward Trevon “T.J.” Taylor, junior guard Jake Hendricks and junior guard A.J. Banks – were a combined 4 of 24 from the field and 2 of 16 from behind the arc.
“(James) finds a way to figure it out, but we need those other guys to do something offensively,” third-year UW coach Allen Edwards said.
James said a lack of energy and effort were UW’s biggest downfalls in this game. Edwards agreed to a certain extent.
“It was a lack of energy from certain guys,” said Edwards, who didn’t give specific names. “There are times we care about our own selves and not about the team output.”
Colorado State (11-16, 6-8) shot 50 percent from the field (29 of 58) and 43.3 percent from 3-point range (13 of 30). Five players scored in double figures, led by senior guard J.D. Paige’s 15 points. Junior center Nico Carvacho added 13. Paige and Carvacho are the Rams’ two leading scorers this season.
Freshman forward Adam Thistlewood (11 points), junior guard Kris Martin (12), junior guard Hyron Edwards (10) and freshman guard Kendle Moore (nine) were more productive than in UW’s 74-66 win two weeks ago in Laramie.
“(Colorado State’s) supporting cast played a lot better this time around, and played with a lot more confidence,” Edwards said.
The Rams used a 13-0 run over a 3-minute, 48-second stretch to jump out to a 17-5 lead 6 minutes into the game. UW was 6 of 24 from the field and 1 of 10 from 3 in the first half, and committed seven turnovers. Colorado State was 15 of 31, 7 of 16 from behind the arc and led 40-19 at halftime.
It was the third time this season UW scored less than 20 points during the first half.
UW cut the lead to 47-34 with 13:33 to play after two free throws and a layup by James. The free throws came after a dead-ball technical foul on Carvacho.
Colorado then went on a 12-0 run over the next 2:52 to end the rally.
UW committed 15 turnovers that resulted in 21 Colorado State points, and the Cowboys were outrebounded 41-25.
“Some guys give it their all and some guys don’t, and whenever they don’t we try to do our best to hold them accountable,” James said. “It is a team thing. Everyone has to come out ready to play 40 minutes, and play as hard as they can.
“This game was all on us. Colorado State has some great players and they played well, but the way we played was unacceptable.”
UW’s next game is at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Fresno State.
— UW still leads the series with Colorado State 135-96, and is 54-57 in Fort Collins.
— Hendricks tied a career-high with four steals. He also had four Dec. 11 against Denver.
— James became the fifth UW player to score more than 1,900 career points, and is 11 points from tying center Eric Leckner (1,938 points) for fourth place on the Cowboys’ all-time scoring list.
— James is tied for eighth place in UW history in games played at 126.
Robert Gagliardi is the WyoSports senior editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @rpgagliardi.