Wyoming also owned the boards on Monday night, out rebounding Jackson State 34 to 26. Cooke finished with 10 rebounds, his second straight games of double digit rebounding.
Jackson State shut down the run with a suffocating half court trap, consistently swarming Cowboy ball handlers when they crossed the mid court stripe, forcing multiple turnovers and awkward, clanking jumpers.
As the home team's empty possessions piled up the home crowd inside the Arena Auditorium grew restless. An Nike Classic Cortez Red Blue excited buzz fell steadily flat, so that every frustrated yell from a fan rang clear in the arena.
The Tigers put together a 9 1 run of their own near the end of the half, holding the Cowboys scoreless on seven consecutive possessions.
The Tigers answered schematically.
Each time a Cowboy free throw dropped silently through the cylinder, the sound of a firing Roshe Cortez Forrest Gump
On the last possession of the first half, Granberry took a pass and drove across the paint. With little space with which to operate, he Nike Cortez Red Price
Just before halftime, Jerron Granberry turned those grumbles to cheers.
The redshirt senior, his sweaty bald head gleaming underneath the bright arena lights, high stepped off the court, as if he were running on hot coals instead of hardwood.
The turnovers piled up, as did the fouls. And as the home crowd grew quieter, the lead steadily shrunk.
Each player on the team has a defined role, Cooke said after the game. The junior forward fulfilled his in the (at) something, and what you have to find out is what you can be the best at," Shyatt said. "DC [Cooke] we need to lead us in defensive boards.
Wyoming gets to the free throw line
By the time the game ended, the chamber was certainly empty.
took a few extra dribbles, faded away and released an arcing jumper.
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pistol played over the arena's loudspeakers, similar to the sound of a bullet whizzing harmlessly past Clint Eastwood's head in grainy, beloved Westerns.
The Tigers' bench chanted "DE FENSE, DE FENSE" when teammates didn't have the ball, acting both as players and cheering section in Monday night's defeat.
First came the swish, then the buzzer.
Wyoming was able to hold on, thanks in part to frequent visits to the foul line. The Cowboys took 44 free throws on Monday night, converting 31 of them. Jackson State, by comparison, took only 15 free throws but attempted 24 more shots from the field.
The Cowboys continued their erratic shooting in the second half, however, at one point going 4 minutes, 51 seconds in between field goals.
I think everybody's noticing now whether it's fans, players, coaches and media they're noticing how important they are, and how important they can be in both wins and losses," Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said.
The Cowboys broke off a 14 0 run midway through the first quarter, attacking the basket and often finishing at the rim or getting fouled. Forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. delivered violent dunks, bringing the crowd to its feet and the rim to a noisy rattle.
Wyoming led 35 24 at the break.
"Every time a team traps us, it gets you on your heels a little bit," Nance said after the game. "But we ran over that in practice, and we were prepared for it."
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