by staff–19 Dec ’15
Four Cowboys scored in double figures to hand the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team a hard-fought 76-75 win over Omaha on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (7-4) were down by seven midway through the second half, before holding the Mavericks (6-6) to eight field goals over the last 10 minutes to turn the game in their favor.
“This is clearly the best team we’ve played on our schedule,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “I get certain names from certain leagues [may be more recognizable], but this is a really good basketball team. I’m really proud of our guys to win back-to-back games where we needed to do some really smart things in the last two minutes of play.”
Omaha had Wyoming on the ropes with a 46-39 lead halfway through the second half. That’s when senior guard Josh Adams sparked the Cowboys en route to his game-high 31 points. He hit back-to-back threes and sophomore guard Alexander Aka Gorski converted an old-fashion three point play to put the Pokes in front 48-46 just two minutes later. Wyoming would build the lead to as many as seven points, before Omaha pulled back within three at 67-64 with 1:43 remaining.
“We got nine players in the game in both halves today, which was a good thing for us,” Shyatt said. “All games in basketball are games of runs. When they got their run and went up six or seven early in the second half, I thought that was the deciding part of the game. I want to say we got five stops in a row right after that. We weren’t overly pretty on offense, but we climbed back in it. We got a one or two-point lead and from that point on I thought our guys could taste it.”
Sophomore guard Trey Washington responded with a deep three, his only points of the game, to push the advantage back to six with a minute left. Freshman guard Justin James, junior guard Jason McManamen and Adams would hit free throws down the stretch to keep the Pokes in front, before the Mavericks hit a three at the buzzer for the final margin. The Pokes limited Omaha to just eight made field goals in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Adams’ 31 points were his third 30-point effort this season, as he made seven field goals, three triples and a career-high 14 free throws. He also moved up to 19th in Wyoming history with 1,331 points. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon added 14 points and seven rebounds in a career-high 37 minutes, while McManamen had 11 points, a career-high eight rebounds and tied a career high with four assists. James rounded out UW’s double-figure scorers with 11 points and a career high six rebounds.
Wyoming shot 47 percent (23-of-49) from the field, 35 percent (8-of-23) beyond the arc and 85 percent (22-of-26) at the charity stripe. Omaha hit 39 percent (22-of-57) and the same from deep, but just 68 percent (23-of-34) at the free-throw line. The Mavericks earned a 36-35 advantage on the boards, 17-13 in assists and 7-4 in steals in a game that featured six ties and eight lead changes. The 46 combined fouls were a season high for a Cowboy game, as UW’s 22 fouls tied a season high. Wyoming’s 35 rebounds tied a season high.
The Cowboys finish play in the Global Sports Classic by facing Marshall on Monday in Las Vegas at 8:30 p.m., before taking on Houston or Grand Canyon on Tuesday.