ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Wyoming Cowboys will be coached by a former University of New Mexico assistant coach Wednesday night in the Pit.
Just not the one most expected.
For the third time in the past two weeks, head coach Larry Shyatt, a former Lobo assistant, will not coach his team as he recovers from a viral infection in Laramie, Wyo.
Associate head coach Scott Duncan, also a former UNM assistant from 1980-90, will assume the head coaching responsibilities on Wednesday as he is the assistant in charge of scouting the Lobos.
“He’s definitely going to be OK,” Wyoming assistant Jeremy Shyatt said on Monday of his father. “He just needs to rest and obviously this time of year resting is easier said than done for a basketball coach.”
In Saturday’s home win over Utah State, the Cowboys were coached by Jeremy, who had the scout on the Aggies. Assistant Allen Edwards had the head coaching title for the Jan. 22 road win at Air Force.
“He was watching the Utah State game and I’m sure there were some guys on the bench who had their phones and he was probably texting away saying what we should and shouldn’t do,” Jeremy Shyatt said. “He’s very involved whether it’s the game plan, whether it’s watching film as much as he can but in the same breath not compromising his health because right now his health is the most important thing on the table.”
The team expects Larry Shyatt back for Saturday’s game at UNLV.
“I reached out to him the practice I heard about it,” UNM coach Craig Neal said. “I called him while we were in practice because I didn’t know how serious it was. I stayed in touch with him and Lamont (Smith, UNM’s associate head coach) stayed in touch with his sons. I’ve reached out to him a lot just to let him know we’re hoping he’s well. He’ll be OK and that’s the most important thing. This profession is definitely trying and pressure packed and draining and I just hope he gets well.”
BAIRSTOW HONORED: Add another Mountain West Player of the Week honor of the season for UNM senior forward Cameron Bairstow. The Brisbane, Australia, native won his second weekly honor on Monday after averaging 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in wins at Utah State and vs. San Jose State.
Bairstow joins three other MWC players – San Diego State’s Xavier Thames, Nevada’s Deonte Burton and Wyoming’s Larry Nance, Jr. – as multi-time winners this season. His two honors along with teammate Alex Kirk’s Nov. 25 Player of the Week honor give UNM three for the season, more than any other MWC team.
ADAMS SUSPENDED: Wyoming sophomore guard Josh Adams was suspended by the league on Monday for his throwing a punch during Saturday’s win over Utah State. He will not play in the Pit on Wednesday.
Jeremy Shyatt said the team hasn’t decided who will start in his place. Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman in a prepared statement said, “We know Josh is disappointed in his actions … and we will support him as he learns from this experience.”
POLL POSITION: The San Diego State Aztecs remained the league’s only ranked team at No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coach’s top 25 polls released Monday. The Lobos received points in both polls, but remained unranked.
UNM’s 12 points in the AP poll came via appearing on nine of the 65 voter ballots with a high ranking of 24 by three voters.
MY AP TOP 25 BALLOT: To view Geoff Grammer’s AP Top 25 ballot for Monday, CLICK HERE.
DRAMA AT CSU? Just three minutes into Saturday’s CSU at SDSU game, Rams coach Larry Eustachy benched his leading scorer (in MWC games) Daniel Bejarano just 2:35 into the game.
“He has a lot of growing up to do,” Eustachy said. “I didn’t like the way some things went down, so I decided not to play him the rest of the game. I just didn’t like his body language.”
During a subsequent timeout, ESPNU cameras caught Bejarano grow angry about something and had to be physically restrained by several teammates while arguing with Eustachy.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Of course winning the league tournament gets any team an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, but the chances of an automatic bid to the Big Dance for the Boise State Broncos may vanish with another home loss.
That tournament résumé takes a jump in the other direction should Boise State knock off visiting San Diego State on Wednesday night.
How big a game is this for the Broncos? Coach Leon Rice has shut off media availability this week for the first time all season, according to Idaho Statesman reporter Dave Southern.
Boise State on Saturday night in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., led UNLV by 11 points (67-56) with 3:29 remaining. The Rebels outscored the Broncos 17-2 from that point on to win 73-69, taking from the Broncos what would have been a key road victory.