Cowboy Hoops Opens With Exhibition OT Win

Nov. 9, 2004

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The University of Wyoming Cowboy basketball team opened their 2004-05 campaign with a 76-72 exhibition overtime win over the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers in Laramie on Tuesday night.

UW was led by senior Jay Straight who scored 17 points and had four assists in 43 minutes. Three other Cowboys also scored in double figures; Dion Sherrell with 12, and Alex Dunn and Steve Leven with 11 apiece. Dunn and Justin Williams, who had a team high 10 rebounds, each had four blocks.

The Orediggers held the lead for the majority of the game and hit key shots, led by senior Stephen Bahl's double-double, 33 points and 11 rebounds.

The Cowboys are a team full of newcomers, three redshirts and eight new players, and head coach Steve McClain substituted players early and often as UW looked for team chemistry.

Wyoming shot 38.9% from the floor, while the Colorado School of Mines shot 37.5%.

Postgame Notes
•Wyoming is now 31-6 record all-time in exhibition games, dating back to the first exhibtion game in the 1982 season.
•Tonight's exhibition game was the first time UW had played another collegiate team in an exhibtion.
•Under the direction of head coach Steve McClain, Wyoming's exhibition record is now 12-1.
•Tonight's overtime game was the first time a UW exhibition game went to overtime.
•The Cowboys played only one overtime game a year ago -- 74-75 loss at Colorado State.
•Wyoming's eight total blocked shots versus Colorado School of Mines matched UW's season game high of a year ago.
•Jay Straight led the Cowboys with 17 total points. Straight scored in double figures in 23 of 27 games he played in last season.
•Alex Dunn's four blocked shots would have tied a career high -- if exhibition games counted in official statistics.
•Newcomer Justin Williams also blocked four shots and had double figures in rebounding with 10. He nearly recorded a double-double, as he scored nine points to go with his 10 rebounds.
•Newcomer Steve Leven scored in double figures in his first game as a Cowboy, with 11 points.

Quotes from Wyoming head coach Steve McClain

"That game was one that prepared us for a game like Princeton or Air Force. Mines played hard and played smart. It was a better game for us than the All-Star teams that we used to play, because you are playing a team that has been practicing just like we have for about three weeks. And you are playing a team that has a system, and plays together, rather than a group of individuals.

"We had a lot of guys who were playing their first game as Cowboys tonight, and our nervousness showed. But I thought in the second half our kids got past that initial nervousness, and we turned up the defense and the intensity.

"We got a lot out of this game. It was more like a regular-season game. One example was at the end of regulation, where we were faced with getting a good shot to win the game. Jay (Straight) came off the high ball screen, hit Dion (Sherrell), who was open in the corner, but the shot just didn't go down. But it was still a good situation to see how our kids would react, and I was pleased to see how they reacted and how they stepped up in ovetime.

"Jay (Straight) and Alex (Dunn) have done a good job of leading this team. We have a lot of new players on the court, and it will be a work in progress as guys learn to play with one another.

"Dion (Sherrell) did some good things. Steve Leven stepped up in the last few minutes and did a good job defensively, as did Jerry Webb when he came in for a couple of minutes down the stretch.

"I don't know if I've ever had a player who plays harder than Justin Williams. You had better put a body on him, because he is going to go hard at the rim at both ends of the court.

"I was really pleased with everybody who played tonight."