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LARAMIE (AP) — Wyoming’s season is done, but coach Larry Shyatt sees the start of something good.
After falling to Western Michigan 75-67 in overtime Monday night in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational, Shyatt told his team that it has done a lot since he took over a program that went 10-21 the year before he arrived in 2011.
“I said you played the game the right way. You approached the game the right way. You won 41 games, but most important of all there’s a culture that you have begun to start,” he said.
David Brown scored 17 points and Shayne Whittington added 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Western Michigan (22-12), which advances to play Wright State (23-12) in the semifinals Wednesday night.
Brown scored 6 of his points in overtime after tying the game with 0.8 seconds left in regulation with a 3-pointer.
“He giveth, and He taketh,” Shyatt said of Brown’s 3-pointer to force OT.
Last week, Wyoming beat Lehigh on Nathan Sobey’s 3-pointer at the buzzer in the first round.
Wyoming (20-14) was led by Larry Nance Jr.’s 19 points and eight rebounds. Riley Grabau added 13 points, while Leonard Washington and Josh Adams contributed 12 apiece.
Shyatt and players noted the problems faced by the Cowboys this season, which looked promising after a school record 13-0 start.
However, after the suspension of starting guard Luke Martinez because of his arrest on an assault and battery charge stemming from a bar fight on Dec. 30 and nagging illness and injuries to Nance and Washington, the Cowboys finished the remainder of the season 7-14.
“It’s a great mentality to have as a team to focus the way we focused day in and day out when we were battling with so much adversity at different times of the year,” Derrious Gilmore, who finished with 11 points, said. “And it just showed the heart of what we are about and the direction that the University of Wyoming is going in. It was just a great experience; I mean a great experience.”
Shyatt said he was proud of the team for establishing a more successful program both on the court and in the classroom.
“I’m proud of the fact that most of the time they do the right thing, occasionally something jumps up to bite all of us,” he said. “I said to them that I appreciate the way they have prepared day after day. I appreciate the way they have helped move us in the right direction with a culture that we can be proud of.”