Junior guard Louis Adams hit a three pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining to lift the Cowboys past Montana 85-83 on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. Both teams combined for 51 points from the free throw line in a contest that saw 50 fouls. The Cowboys sweep the season series against the Griz taking both games with last second scores. The Pokes move to 7-2 on the year with Montana falling to 3-7 on the season.
“It was a great win against a really good team,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “Our guys knew it was going to be a tough game, but we just made a few extra plays down the stretch to win the game. Getting prepared for a team that can get in the paint like Montana is tough. We wanted them to finish over the top of us, because they hit the three pointer so well and we did a good job of that tonight”
The Cowboys outscored the Griz 27-22 in the final 10 minutes of the contest helping the Pokes earn their sixth win at home this season. The Pokes comeback in the second half was paced by 58 percent shooting from the field going 15-of-26. The game was a back-and-forth affair with a season-high 20 lead changes.
“I think a lot of the halftime talk and huddle talk was on defense,” Edwards said. “We have to be a team that hangs our hat on the defense end of the floor to be effective. When we are out there competing on the defense end of the floor we can be good team.”
Senior guard Jason McManamen led the Pokes in scoring with 20 points. He has scored 20 or more points in four games this season and 10 times in his career.
The Pokes had five players in double-figures on the night. Sophomore guard Justin James added 16 points off the bench, as the UW bench scored 40 points on the night. Junior forward Hayden Dalton added 11 points along with fellow junior Alan Herndon. James and Herndon led the Pokes in rebounds with seven. Adams poured in 10 points on the night. Redshirt freshman Cody Kelley tied a career-high with eight points.
“The thing I always tell people about is the depth of our basketball team,” Edwards said. We have a diverse group of guys that allows us to have the next guy up play some quality minutes. Our guys were vocal in the huddle and Hayden Dalton was the leader and that translated on the floor.”
UW shot 47 percent from the field on the night going 25-of-53. The Griz shot 42 percent (25-of-60) from the field. The Griz held the advantage on the boards 42-31. Montana scored 21 second chance points on the night.
The Pokes raced out to an early 13-6 lead. McManamen and Adams led the early offense rush for the Pokes with both players adding five points. McManamen did his damage with a triple and a pair of free throws. Adams hit three free throws and added a layup.
The Griz clawed their way back into the game halfway through the half holding the Pokes without a field goal for nearly five minutes tying the game at 15-15. The run was halted by a deep three-pointer by Kelley.
Montana took their first lead at 19-18 on a pair of free throws by Michael Oguine. Both teams would exchange the lead for the remainder of the frame. Both teams did damage free throw line. The Pokes were 11-of-13 from the line in the first half and opened the game going 11-for-11.
The Cowboys built back a lead of 35-31 with an alley-op from Jeremy Lieberman to James followed by a three pointer from McManamen. The Griz tied the contest at 37-37 at the free throw line for a tied game going into the half.
After both teams battled for the upper hand to open the second half, the Griz took the advantage building a 50-44 lead on a 7-0 run with 15:25 remaining in the frame. Montana built the lead to seven at 52-45 on a dunk by Jared Samuelson.
The Pokes battled back with a 5-0 run paced by a layup from Kelley and a triple by senior guard Morris Marshall to make it a 52-50 game.
Wyoming tried to break into the lead and take control back, as McManamen cut the deficit to one at 73-72 on a three pointer with under five minutes remaining. Dalton gave the Pokes a 75-73 lead on a three pointer. The Griz tied the game at 75-75 with a jumper seconds later.
After both teams exchanged three pointers, the Pokes took the lead and never gave it up on a jumper in the paint by James with 1:19 remaining in the game. Adams three with under a second left was followed by a bench technical foul by the Pokes, but the Griz did not have enough time to put up a shot as the Pokes won 85-83.
The Griz were led in scoring by guard Walter Wright, as he added 20 points. Michael Oguine added 14 points for Montana. Bobby Moorhead led all players with 10 rebounds.
The Cowboys return to action next Saturday hosting Cornell at 4 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.