Nov 1, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorUniversity of Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman was one of the 1,100 people in the stands who watched the Pokes take on Fort Lewis College on Wednesday at Wyoming Indian High School.
Burman helped spearhead the effort to pick Ethete as a place for the Cowboys to play an exhibition game.
The game was a collaboration between the Cowboys and the Nike's N7 program.
"Wyoming Indian has a great facility with plenty of seating and plenty of locker rooms," Burman said. "It's far away from Laramie that we were trying to outreach and expose Cowboy basketball to people that don't get to Laramie very often. It made a lot of sense."
Burman knew it was going to be a challenge packing the house on Halloween night.
"Anytime that you are playing a basketball game on Halloween night, getting people to come isn't easy," Burman said. "We are thrilled by 1,100 people. The great thing is that there is a whole bunch of people that I talked to that haven't seen the Cowboys before. That is what we are trying to do."
Burman gave the Cowboys a passing mark in the first exhibition game of the season. Burman said UW coach Larry Shyatt will get the Cowboys going at full speed by the time the Mountain West Conference season starts.
Shyatt enters his second season at the helm after helping UW to a solid record last year.
"We are very young, so it will take awhile," Burman said. "We have some good players. We have some pieces. We just have to see how some of the other kids grow up."
One of those players standing out Wednesday was sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr.
Nance showed off his skills to the Fremont County fans during the 40-minute contest. The dunks he did on the court were impressive, but the best thing was what he did after the media talked to him: He signed a number of autographs to UW fans. Nance is going to be a rising star in the Mountain West Conference.
"This is the best that the basketball conference has ever been," Burman said.
UNLV, San Diego State, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado State are all picked to have winning seasons.
"They are really good," Burman said. "It's going to be really tough league."
Tough football season
The University of Wyoming football season is going through a disappointing season with a 1-7 overall record and an 0-4 mark in the Mountain West Conference.
UW head coach Dave Christensen returns to the helm this week after he was fined $50,000 and suspended one game for the way he acted after a 28-27 loss to Air Force.
"Anytime that you win one football game, and you have had a whole bunch of close losses that is hard," Burman said.
The Pokes are looking to pick up their first league win of the season Saturday against Colorado State University.
"This has been a hard football season," Burman said. "'This is "Sheep Week,' so it doesn't matter what the records are."
Burman wants fans to continue to have faith that the Pokes will turn things around.
"The fans need to stick with us," Burman said. "We are going to be fine. We will be there."
UW better start to turn things around or this football season could be one of the worst ones in school history.
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