LARAMIE, Wyo. — Jeremy Lieberman had a hot hand Saturday for the Wyoming men’s basketball team. Whenever he could feel it, that is.
The Wyoming junior set a new career high Saturday at Air Force with 14 points and matched a career high with four made 3-pointers.
“I felt great,” Lieberman said. “My teammates were finding me, and Coach is always saying, ‘On balance, let it go,’ and I did that.”
Lieberman hit his first three shots of the game, two 3-pointers and a 2-point jumper, to help Wyoming to a 15-5 lead. Then he injured his right hand and left the game about halfway through the first half.
“I just dove on the floor for a loose ball,” he said. “Hand just gave out. It just went numb. It started tingling, and I saw (trainer Lance Schuemann). He fixed me up, and I got back out there.”
Lieberman returned to the game a few minutes later, but he wasn’t quite back to form.
“Yeah, it took me a second,” he said. “It definitely did. I think I missed the next two, but it ended up being fine.”
Before the half ended, Lieberman turned the ball over twice, missed two open 3-pointers and was short on two free-throw attempts.
Luckily for Wyoming, his hand regained feeling in time.
Air Force gradually chipped away at Wyoming’s lead, which had reached as many 22. With under 4 minutes to play, the Falcons were within nine points. Lieberman hit his third 3-pointer of the game. Less than a minute later, he hit another.
“It’s always fun playing on the road, whenever it gets loud and stuff, being able to quiet the crowd,” Lieberman said. “It’s a great feeling. I just thank my teammates. They were finding me. “
The Falcons didn’t get back within 10 points until the final basket of the game.
“That’s a team who helps a lot,” sophomore Justin James said of Air Force. “So whenever (Lieberman’s) man will step up, whether it’s strong side, whether it’s the big man stepping up, they were pretty much wide open for him. And I had to make those plays to feed him.”
Lieberman now has made a 3-pointer in five of his last six games after just hitting five in all of nonconference play.
“I’ve not said one thing to him about makes or misses throughout the year,” Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said. “He started out the year not really shooting the ball well, but if you look at over the past four, five games, steadily he’s been making one or two a game. And that helps with just confidence, to be honest with you. And his minutes.
“But to be honest with you, he’s shot the ball well, but I thought this was his best game just as (far as) being a floor general. Getting it, pushing it, moving it, helping each other out, defending, I thought he had a complete game. And to be honest with you, we need more of that out of him than anything.”
Alexander Aka Gorski also suffered a first-half injury at Air Force. The junior fell to the ground after hitting a 3-pointer in the first minute.
“He twisted his ankle just briefly,” Edwards said. “I talked to Lance as I was coming up here. Same ankle that he twisted a few weeks back. But treating it, ice, hopefully within this next few days we can make some ground with it. But he started off the game way.”