LARAMIE -- "We definitely need more than three points out of him."

That's what Jeff Linder said after Wyoming dropped an 84-76 decision to Utah State last Wednesday night in Laramie. He was referring to guard Akuel Kot, who attempted just six shots in the loss. He sank just one.

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It was the senior's least-productive outing of the year and was just the third time he has failed to reach double digits in the scoring column.

So, what gives?

"They also have their game plan, as well," he said of the front-running Aggies, who limited the Cowboys to just 41.8% shooting from the field. "They did a good job of kind of limiting his touches."

Surely the fourth-year head coach would issue a challenge to Kot, right?


"I apologized to him," Linder said on Monday, just two days after Kot netted 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in an 80-75 road victory over San Jose State.

It worked.

"I apologized to him and the team for not allowing him to kind of play to his strengths," he continued. "He's a one-on-one guy. He's not a guy that's necessarily great in pick and roll, because when you put him in the pick and roll, a lot like my guys Andre Spight, who I had at Northern Colorado, where it was like almost all you're doing is just putting two guys on him as opposed to we're just making him go play against one guy."

Linder has often said his scorers can ill afford to have an off-night, especially in a league that appears destined to have at least four teams in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

In 27 minutes played against the Spartans, Kot was deadly from deep, sinking 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He matched a season high with five rebounds and even dished out two assists. Cramps cost him minutes down the stretch, but the Amarillo, Texas product looked like himself once again.

"We made a few adjustments, knowing that, hey, let's try to get him into some more of those situations where he is playing one on one and allow him to go," Linder said of Kot, who is now averaging just a tick under 15 points an outing. "He's too good of a shooter and scorer where we can't let the other team dictate the number of shots that he's going to get.

"So, that was on me."

You think San Jose State has seen enough of Kot?

Not only did he hit the 20-point mark last Saturday night inside Provident Credit Union Event Center, back in early January, Kot sank a 16-footer from the left elbow at the buzzer to erase a 17-point lead and vault the Cowboys to 1-0 in the conference standings.

Kot finished with 14 points in that win.

Wyoming (13-12, 6-5) will travel to Reno Tuesday night to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack (20-6, 7-5). Tipoff is slated for 9 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

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