Wyoming UNLV Men's Basketball

Welcome to 624, Wyoming’s most exclusive nightclub

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One of the ugliest in-season, off-court headlines of last year came when Wyoming’s Luke Martinez was charged with felony aggravated assault and battery stemming from a bar fight on Dec. 30 that put one man in the hospital with serious facial injuries.

That incident, along with others the Cowboys have seen with other programs, has led to a few older players creating an alternative option to hitting downtown Laramie on the weekends.

Welcome to 624. Laramie’s newest club…. that you probably can’t get into. Unless, of course, you’re a member of the men’s basketball team.

The concept was created by Wyoming players Derek Cooke, Jr. (pictured at right) and Charles Hankerson, Jr., presumably as a way to avoid stuff like the Martinez incident in the future. In 624, they’ve found a way for players to hang out and have fun, and most of all, lessen the risk of any extracurricular trouble.

“Me and [Hankerson] Jr. kind of started it. It’s not always good for us to go downtown, so we figured we’d have our own fun,” Cooke told the Casper Tribune. “So we invite our teammates and friends over to our apartment, make sure it’s before quiet hours and just have a good time.”

The “club” mainly consists of college-kid stuff: video games, movies, just general hanging out. And that’s pretty cool considering that some of my best memories were made in nights like that in college.

The club is, if you haven’t figured out by now, the residence of Hankerson, Jr. and Cooke, Jr. It closes at midnight, when quiet hours start and every guest has to leave. The club is exclusively Wyoming basketball’s. And many of the biggest frequenters are freshman on the team.

Though not everyone has been to take part in Wyoming basketball’s newest program. Apparently senior Nate Sobey is playfully resilient to the place. For others, it’s just a matter of distance.

“I don’t go out there, it’s too far for me. But yeah, those are great guys, like I said. They’re always inviting everybody,” Redshirt senior Jerron Granberry told the Casper Tribune. “There’s no cliques. It just happened that those two guys live together, and they’re probably the two clowns of the team. They’re always making people laugh. It’s just a joy to be around them.”

This is a pretty solid idea by the leaders of this team. The Cowboys nose-dived last season after starting 13-0, and some of that had to do with Martinez’s arrest. The then-fifth-year senior was averaging 14.5 points and three rebounds before his arrest and subsequent suspension. His case is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 26-28 and he never played in another game for the Pokes. He’s also being sued by the victim’s family for $150,000 in damages.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)