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Wyoming comes up two points short in setback to Air Force

Feb 26, 2014 - From staff reports

Nathan Sobey did just about everything he could to will the depleted University of Wyoming Cowboys to a win Tuesday night against Air Force on a snowy night in Laramie.

The UW senior just couldn't knock down the shot the Cowboys needed most. And neither could his teammates down the stretch. The story was reported by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Wyoming, playing without Larry Nance Jr. due to injury and Charles Hankerson Jr. due to suspension, still did what it usually does, play a down-to-the wire contest. But unlike in the first meeting between the Cowboys and Falcons at the Academy, the Cowboys couldn't hit the big shot, falling 55-53 before an announced crowd of 4,468, held down due to Tuesday's snow storm.

Wyoming (17-11 overall, 8-7 Mountain West) fell into a tie for fifth in the conference standings with Nevada with the loss. Air Force (11-15, 5-10 MW) broke a two-game losing streak with the win.

Close games have been nothing new to Wyoming this season. Tuesday night was the 17th game for Cowboys decided by eight points or less, and the eighth decided by three points or fewer.

"This has been the M.O. for this team since day one, whether it's been Northern Colorado or Ohio State," UW coach Larry Shyatt said. "We play San Diego State to a two-point game, we play New Mexico to a two-point game, we play Air Force at Air Force to a two-point game.

"Our personnel is a little different, but the game played out quite the same."

Both teams were sluggish at the start, with Air Force taking a 27-23 halftime lead.

Sobey, who led the Cowboys with 18 points -- 14 in the second half -- appeared to give the Cowboys some life early in the second half by scoring seven straight points to give Wyoming a 30-29 lead with just over 16 minutes to play.

"It was maybe our worst half of basketball we played all year, and it was a one-possession game and we were still in it," Sobey said of the second-half surge. "We just wanted to play hard and do what we do best on defense and see if we can get some easy basketball and get good looks."

Both teams sparred the rest of the game with neither team leading by more than four points over the final 16 minutes. Sobey's second 3-pointer of the half gave Wyoming a 50-49 lead with 2:52 to play, but Wyoming made just one more shot down the stretch.

After Air Force's Max Yow hit four free throws for a 53-50 lead, Jerron Granberry missed a one-and-one with 1:33 to go and Grabau and Granberry each missed open 3-pointers on Wyoming's next two possessions.

Still, Air Force missed two free throws in the final 20 seconds.

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