MISSOULA, Mont. – A block by junior forward Alan Herndon in the closing seconds lifted the Cowboys past Montana 73-72 on Monday evening in Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont. Junior forward Hayden Dalton and sophomore guard Justin James combined for 30 points off the bench, as UW moves to 2-0 on the season.
“I think this was a tremendous road win for this basketball team,” Head coach Allen Edwards said. “The last stance is something you try to create in practice and when we came into that timeout we talked about what we have practiced and executed well.”
The two teams battled in the late goings of the contest exchanging baskets until James gave UW a 73-71 on a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left. The Griz followed by a trip to the line themselves. Ahmaad Rorie went 1-of-2 at the stripe to make it 73-72. The Pokes then turned it over, but a block by Herndon ended the game and completed a nine point comeback for the Pokes.
Senior guard Jason McManamen scored a game-high 20 points for his seventh career game with 20 or more points. McManamen hit two three pointers on the night moving into the top-10 in career three pointers at UW. Dalton added 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his first career double-double. James scored a career-high 19 points with a career-high eight field goals. Herndon added 10 points for UW.
“If you look at the stat sheet we have tried to keep the rotation to what we have done coming into tonight,” Edwards said. “We felt we were the deeper team tonight and we helped hold some of their best players in check.”
Wyoming shot 40 percent (21-of-53) from the field and 32 percent (9-of-28) from behind the arc. The Griz shot 49 percent (26-of-53) on the night. But the Pokes hit 22 free throws to Montana’s 16. The Griz grabbed 33 rebounds to the Pokes’ 32.
The Pokes got the advantage early in the first half after a slow start by both squads. The Pokes hit three-straight three pointers to take an 11-4 lead. The Cowboys added to the lead with a Herndon three pointer and put back by Dalton extend the UW lead to 16-8.
The lead was short lived after an 8-0 run by Montana. That run was halted by a three-point play by junior guard Louis Adams. The two teams would battle for the upper hand until the Cowboys used a 14-5 to close out the opening period. McManamen and James carried the load during the stretch with nine points combined.
The Griz opened the second half on another 8-0 run to take a 43-41 lead on the Cowboys. The run was ended by a three pointer by Dalton that put him in double-figures in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
The Pokes struggled from the field in the opening 10 minutes of the half going 2-for-16. That allowed the Griz to build their largest lead of the contest to that point 56-47. The Pokes battled back to within one at 63-62 on a three-pointer from Herndon.
The Cowboys took the lead 65-64 on a deep three-pointer by McManamen. It marked his 20th point of the night. The two teams battled exchanging baskets until James gave UW a 73-71 on a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left.
Guard Sayeed Pridgett led the Griz in scoring with 20 points. Fabijan Krslovic grabbed 12 boards for Montana.
The Pokes return to action on Saturday hosting South Dakota State for a 7 p.m. tip in the Arena-Auditorium.