Cowboys return the favor with runaway home win
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Northern Colorado Basketball shot out to a 7-0 run against Wyoming on Tuesday night, calling to mind the Bears' incredible 31-4 start last season against the Cowboys in Greeley that ended up a 67-53 Northern Colorado win.
That's about all from Tuesday's game that resembled last year's victory, however.
Wyoming quickly erased the Bears' lead, took command of the game by halftime and cruised to a 75-56 win at Arena-Auditorium, dropping Northern Colorado to 0-2 in a season for the first time since 2008.
Sophomore Paul Garnica finished with a career-high 18 points—his second straight career-best scoring performance to start the season—and freshman Tim Huskisson put in 10 points with a 5-for-5 effort from the free-throw line.
Connor Osborne had nine points and eight rebounds, helping the Bears win the rebounding battle 30-28.
Also, Northern Colorado, after gifting Wyoming (2-0) with 14 turnovers in the first half, had just three after halftime and played right with the Cowboys for the second 20 minutes.
The Bears just dug themselves too big of a hole before the break.
"We're young and struggling to find ourselves right now," Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill said. "We're going to be good—we're going to be fine, we've got a lot of talent—but it's going to have to start at practice and carry over into games.
Northern Colorado shot just 62 percent from the free-throw line, committed 32 fouls, giving them 61 through the season's first two games, and it allowed the Cowboys to shoot 57 percent in the second half.
And following a Garnica layup at 11:23 in the first half, the Bears didn't score from the field again for a 12-minute stretch, spanning the remainder of the first half and just into the second.
Osborne ended that drought with a tip in at 19:39 in the second half, and Garnica's old-fashioned three-point play on the Bears' next possession pulled them within 32-19 and appeared to be the beginning of a comeback run.
It wasn't, as Wyoming squelched the mini-rally and closed out the game for its first 2-0 start since 2008.
"This is a group that has the potential to be every bit as good as we've been here in the past, but we're going to go through some growing pains before we get there. We'll get there, we've just got to take big steps instead of baby steps, and it's got to start from within. We've got to find leaders."