LARMAIE, WYO.–Though the men’s basketball team has dropped 10 of their last 11 games and yet to win on an opponent’s home court, the worst part of last Saturday’s loss to rival Wyoming may have had more to do with who wasn’t on the court than who was.
Seven-foot center Stuart Creason said after the 73-58 Border War skid that the foot injury that has kept him out of play for three weeks is a stress fracture and will take two more weeks to heal.
Creason, the most experienced member of the team by far and cornerstone of the inside game, saw his last action on Dec. 29 against Western State and hasn’t played in a conference game yet this season.
Coach Tim Miles said that even though the team has been struggling without Stu, it still needs to find a way to win without him.
“You miss a player like that plenty, but the bottom line is we’ve got to worry about who we are and who we are not,” Miles said. “We’ve got to find a way to make this thing a winning hand.”
As for the game, the team was on the same familiar short-end of a series of late runs. The Rams (6-13, 0-5 MWC) were the victims of a 12-0 run with seven minutes left, effectively destroying their chances at their first conference win.
Also familiar was the play of junior guard Marcus Walker, who finished the game with 26 points, three rebounds and three steals. The 26 points gives him five-straight games with at least 20 points and brings his scoring average to 18.3 on the season, the most in the Mountain West.
Walker took 27 shots to get to his total, 15 more than any other player on the court (Wyoming included).
After the game, Walker talked about needing to get more players involved if the team is going to have success going forward.
“It is kind of frustrating, it makes me feel bad sometimes that I take so many shots,” Walker said. “I just want somebody else to step up and take the shots and contribute.
“I think we always play hard and everybody wants to win, but we just always end up on the short end of the stick.”
Junior guard Willis Gardner looked out of synch for most of the game missing shots (0-6 from the three point line), but did finish with ten points and four rebounds.
Wyoming guard Brandon Ewing was the point leader for the Cowboys, finishing the game with 19 points and five steals. Travis Nelson added 16 for Wyo.
Despite in the fact that the rivalry loss left the Rams winless in the conference, Walker said that the team can’t be looking forward to playing Wyoming again and need to focus on upcoming San Diego State.
“We’ve just got to be ready for the next game, we can’t look forward to playing them again because they are a rival team,” Walker said.
Sports writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.