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Slow start hurts Wyoming vs. Texas A&M

Mar 20, 2014 - From staff reports

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - A horrific start doomed the Wyoming men's basketball team in a 59-43 loss to Texas A&M in first round action of the College Basketball Invitational at Reed Arena before 2,346 fans Wednesday.

Texas A&M (18-15) used a pair of 8-0 runs in the first 10 minutes for a 21-4 lead and were never threatened, advancing to play at Illinois State on Monday.

The Cowboys, making their third straight appearance in the CBI, had a tough time just getting to Texas A&M because of the weather, traveling 11 hours Tuesday to make Houston which is 100 miles from the campus. The weather was great in the Lone Star State, but the Cowboys were as cold as the weather they left behind during the game.

The Cowboys missed 11 of their first 13 shots and had four turnovers as the Aggies took complete control.

"It was a combination of missing some shots, (and) maybe a comedy of errors, a couple errant passes," Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. "I don't think the start was a whole lot different than the end."

Wyoming shot only 29.8 percent from the field, hitting 14 of 47, and had 15 turnovers, its most in 17 games. A&M's offense had a sizzling start by hitting 13 of its first 25 shots, taking advantage of the Cowboys missing All-Mountain West junior forward Larry Nance Jr., who suffered a season-ending injury that coincided with Wyoming losing six of its last seven.

Without the 6-foot-8 Nance, A&M dominated the paint with 6-9 senior forward Kourtney Roberson (14 points, 10 rebounds) and 6-8 junior forward Antwan Space (11 points, 11 rebounds).

"Their size gave us a huge advantage," A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said.

The lead for A&M crested at 57-31 with 7 minutes, 12 seconds left which allowed the ninth place-finisher from the Southeastern Conference to use all of its reserves in the closing minutes.

Wyoming, which missed its first 10 3-pointers, hit its last two in the final minute. That made sure Wyoming wasn't held to its lowest point total in postseason history. Washington State grabbed a 61-41 victory over Wyoming in the 2012 CBI quarterfinals.

"How about a closing statement?" Shyatt when asked for an opening statement. "I feel bad we weren't able to give (A&M) a better ball game."

Just about all of the Cowboys struggled.

Sophomore guard Josh Adams was only 2-for-8 shooting, including 1 of 6 on 3-pointers. He ended with five points on the heels of scoring at least 20 points in four straight games. A&M 6-5 junior guard Jordan Green matched up on the 6-2 Adams much of the time.

"Green did a good job on the Adams kid," Kennedy said. "People don't realize that Adams is really a good player for them."

Wyoming senior guard Nathan Sobey did have a couple of dunks, one that earned him a technical, though Shyatt sprinted several feet out onto the court to protest. Sobey was 4 of 11 shooting for the game, missing a trio of 3-pointers.

"We didn't make the shots we usually see go in," Sobey said.

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