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UW faces similar challenges at Air Force

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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 8:00 am

University of Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt and his staff have a decision to make before Wednesday’s game at Air Force.

Do the Cowboys (11-6 overall, 2-2 Mountain West) try to take away the Falcons’ ability to shoot 3-pointers or their propensity to drive to the basket?

Both have gone hand-in-hand for Air Force (9-8, 3-3), which has impressive conference wins at home against Utah State and at UNLV.

The Falcons are among the conference’s better shooting teams at 47.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from behind the arc.

“You want to try to eliminate the 3-point production of Air Force, but it will put you to sleep with probably the best driving team in our league because it complements its shooting,” Shyatt said.

Shyatt said Wednesday’s defensive task for UW will be similar to the one it faced last Saturday at home against San Jose State.

The Spartans relied heavily on the 3-point shot, and UW extended its defense to limit those shots. As a result, San Jose State drove more to the basket.

It worked out for the Cowboys, as they held the Spartans to 31 percent from behind the arc and 37 percent from the field in a 67-56 victory.

Positive ratio

Shyatt is pleased that seven of the eight guys who see consistent playing time have more assists than turnovers.

The only one that doesn’t is true freshman guard Trey Washington III with 11 assists and 12 turnovers. However, Shyatt said Washington’s assist-to-turnover ratio has improved recently.

The player with the best ratio is junior guard Riley Grabau with a 37 assists and 23 turnovers.

Shyatt liked the fact UW had nine turnovers against San Jose State, its third-lowest this season. He also was pleased with sophomore guard Josh Adams’ seven assists and one turnover against the Spartans. Adams had seven turnovers and two assists in UW’s 52-50 win at Boise State on Jan. 11.

Free throws

The team lifted weights and had a walk-through Monday afternoon before attending a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in Laramie. The team also planned to practice Monday night. ...  The Cowboys are 17th in the nation in field-goal percentage offense (48.8) and 18th in scoring defense (60.6 points per game). ... Grabau led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (51.9) last week, but was not in the rankings this week. Over the last two games, Grabau is 0 of 8 from 3-point range, but he is 12th nationally in free-throw percentage (90.2).

COWBOYS GAME DAY

Game: Wyoming (11-6, 2-2 MW) at Air Force (9-8, 3-3)

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Clune Arena, Air Force Academy, Colo.

Radio: KCGY (95.1 FM) Laramie; KFBC (1240 AM) Cheyenne

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