Gear up for gameday: Air Force
LARAMIE -- With 3:32 remaining in the first half and the Cowboys trailing 43-26 Wednesday night, Jeff Linder said the magic word -- or words -- to one of the officials.
The guy in stripes blew his whistle and made a "T" signal with both hands.
Linder received the technical foul, Boise State hit both free throws and extended its lead en route to a 90-70 blowout victory Wednesday night in Laramie.
That was Linder's second technical foul in 11 games as the head coach of the Cowboys.
You think that guy has passion?
"I mean, they got to know that we're in a fight and I'm in there with them," Linder said. "To be honest with you, I thought there was two calls there where we made winning plays and we didn't get rewarded for it."
That Broncos' possession started with a rare missed shot from RayJ Dennis. The visitors hauled in the rebound and it appeared Hunter Maldonado took a clean charge.
The referees didn't see it that way.
Marcus Shaver missed a shot that was quickly ripped out of the sky in traffic by Abu Kigab. Linder, without watching the film, thought the 6-foot-7 forward was a bit aggressive in doing so. Kigab finished the job with a lay in to give the Broncos a 17-point lead.
Linder raced up and down the baseline, pleading his case to any official within ear shot.
They heard him.
"As a program, guess what -- you have to earn the officials' respect," Linder said. "I mean, that's part of the process of building as a program is earning the officials' respect. So, hopefully, that how hard we play, you know, when we see those guys again -- and officials talk, I mean, they talk as much as anyone -- you want them saying, 'hey, those guys play the right way. They play hard.'"
Joe Scott is back
There's no big mystery when it comes to scouting Air Force.
That doesn't mean it's easy to stop though.
Joe Scott, who returns to Colorado Springs after coaching the Falcons from 2000-04, brought his Princeton-style offense back with him in his second stint as the head man inside Clune Arena.
What does that mean? Most Wyoming fans know all too well.
The Falcons are going to use plenty of shot clock. They are going to be constantly in motion, always looking for the backdoor option under the bucket. They will pop out and hit the three, too.
Over the past four games, Wyoming has struggled mightily in the paint against some of the best big men in the Mountain West. Fresno State's Orlando Robinson had his way with the shorthanded Cowboys. So did the Boise State duo of Abu Kigab and Mladen Armus.
Once again, Wyoming will be without Eoin Nelson. The 6-foot-10 Irishman missed all four of those contests. Linder doesn't know a timetable for his return either.
Hunter Thompson, the 6-foot-10 junior sharpshooter from Pine Bluffs, missed the last game with an ankle injury. It's not clear whether he will be able to play in the two-game series in Colorado Springs.
If there was ever a good time to be without the big guys, it's this weekend. Air Force's tallest player is 6-foot-8 CJ Haut. They don't play a post-up game anyway.
The Falcons are led by AJ Walker, who averages 13.9 points per game. He shoots better than 42 percent from three and is hitting 48 percent of his shots from the field. Fellow guard Chris Joyce is averaging 12.7 points per outing.
Those are the only two Falcons who average double-digits so far this winter.
Air Force has lost four straight coming into this weekend, but the Falcons haven't played in more than a week.
Here is all you need to know about Saturday's tilt in Colorado Springs:
WHO: Wyoming (7-4, 1-3) at Air Force (3-7, 1-5)
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. MST
WHERE: Clune Arena, Colorado Springs, Colo.
RADIO: Wyoming affiliates
STREAMING: Mountain West Digital Network
BOX SCORE: Live stats
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Air Force
VEGAS ODDS: Wyoming -1.5, O/U 136.5
HISTORY: UW leads the all-time series 79-40 (Cowboys and Falcons split the season series in 2020)
HEAD COACHES: Jeff Linder / Joe Scott