Although the Wyoming men’s basketball team looked drastically different than the one San Diego State trampled at Viejas Arena earlier this year, the end result was the same.
Senior forward Malcolm Thomas had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Brian Carlwell came off the bench to add a career-high 15 points as SDSU blew out Wyoming 85-58 for the season sweep. Four Aztecs scored in double figures and everyone on the team scored besides forward Tim Shelton, who was battling an illness.
“(It was) a wonderful team win in a place that we’ve had a hard time getting wins,” SDSU head coach Steve Fisher told AM 600 KOGO after the game.
The Aztecs were 6-24 all-time at Laramie, Wyo. heading into last night’s game. Plus, the Cowboys, who fired former head coach Heath Shroyer last month, implemented an up-tempo style and full-court trap defense with interim head coach Fred Langley. Before the loss to SDSU, Wyoming was 2-3 under Langley after losing the last seven games in a row with Shroyer at the helm.
“Wyoming was going to try to scramble it up and trap and trap in a variety of angles and places,” Fisher said after the game. “We did a good job of finding the open man and making the extra pass and got a lot of easy baskets because of an awareness and unselfishness.”
Thomas opened the scoring for the Aztecs with a layup, but it was Wyoming that started out hot. The Cowboys held a 10-4 lead into the first five minutes and showed off their new style against the Aztecs, who were coming off a disappointing loss to rival BYU.
But then SDSU started hitting its shots. The Aztecs went on an 11-0 scoring run and sophomore guard Chase Tapley hit a layup with 4:58 remaining to give SDSU a 25-15 lead.
Thomas finished the first half with back-to-back dunks to increase the Aztecs’ lead to 17 heading into halftime.
But would SDSU suffer a letdown loss?
The Aztecs had a 17-point halftime lead at Wyoming last year, but ended up losing by two points after a three-point barrage by the Cowboys.
“Last year we had a lead and they
came back and beat us, so we were just trying to play safe and not lose again,” Thomas told KOGO.
Thomas and the rest of the Aztecs had nothing to worry about. SDSU kept scoring and got its biggest lead of the game (27 points) at the 11:11 mark in the second half. After that, it was all smooth sailing to victory for the Aztecs.
SDSU’s next and final regular season game will be on Saturday against Colorado State at Viejas Arena. Saturday also marks Senior Night, and the team will honor its upperclassmen.