Feb 8, 2013 - The Associated PressIn recent weeks, University of Wyoming men's basketball coach Larry Shyatt has seen two things from true freshman guard Jason McManamen in practice.
Steadiness and reliability.
Those two traits have earned McManamen more playing time, Shyatt said Thursday in the wake of UW's 61-53 road win at Cal-State Bakersfield the night before.
"Anything more than that is really icing on the cake for our subs," Shyatt said.
The Torrington product played a career-high 22 minutes off the bench at Bakersfield and scored a career-high 10 points. He made all three of his shots, including two 3-pointers.
Prior to that, McManamen had played a career-best 19 minutes in UW's 65-46 loss at Colorado State last Saturday. Many of those minutes came at critical times in the game, not in junk time. McManamen had three points and made one of his two 3-point attempts.
"I got some opportunities and just wanted to play hard and play defense," he said. "That has helped out my confidence a lot.
"I have just tried to work hard every day, keep getting better and be ready for when my opportunity came."
McManamen played 13 minutes in the first half Wednesday in large part because starting guards Josh Adams and Riley Grabau both had two fouls.
He isn't the only bench player whose play has improved recently.
Sophomore forward Derek Cooke Jr., who had only one year of junior college experience in his career before arriving at UW this season, matched a career-high with 12 points at Bakersfield and had a career-best 13 rebounds.
Cooke also has logged the most minutes in his brief career in each of UW's last two games, including a career-best 28 Wednesday because forward Leonard Washington was in foul trouble most of the game.
In his last two games, Cooke has 15 points and 24 rebounds. His season averages are 2.7 points and 3.5 rebounds.
Shyatt also said sophomore walk-on guard Jack Bentz played some "huge minutes" in UW's last two games. He played nine at CSU and 10 at Bakersfield.
And even though his minutes have been down recently, junior guard Nathan Sobey has given the Cowboys some good minutes off the bench, Shyatt said.
"Because of the different dynamics of our team, these guys have played some pretty important minutes in games. That will only help them down the road," Shyatt said.
The biggest dynamic is UW has played 10 games without senior guard Luke Martinez.
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