Cowboy Defense Stands Tall in 72-61 win over UMKC

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The Cowboys held Missouri-Kansas City to 34 percent from the field and 16 points below their season scoring average in a 72-61 win over the Kangaroos in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational presented by Five Four on Monday evening in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys will now host Utah Valley on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.

Tickets start at $13/adult and $10/youth. Priority tickets will also be available for $21 (Gold) and $13 (Blue). Season ticket holders will have till 5 p.m. on Tuesday to claim their tickets. Tickets can be purchased on, over the phone at 307-766-7220 or in person at the Wyoming Athletic Ticket Office. Student tickets will also be available for $5/ticket. Students would need to show their WYO-Wildbunch App or a student ID to purchase. Students can purchase these tickets in person at the Wyoming Athletic Ticket Office or at the Student Union Box Office.

Wyoming now has 20 wins this season for the 22nd 20-win season in school history. Head coach Allen Edwards also became only the second UW head coach to record 20 wins in their first season joining Benny Dees, who had 26 wins in 1987-88.

 “We are excited to still be playing, and excited to get a win over a good team tonight -- a well-coached team that never gave up,” Edwards said. “Watching them on film, it was evident that they are a hungry team that fights to the end.  They cut our lead to four late, but I thought our guys stayed the course.  I talked to them a lot about discipline in this game, and I thought we did a much better job in the second half of being disciplined.”

 “I thought our start was good tonight, and we came out aggressive,” Edwards said.  “The best part was our defense, which created opportunities for us to get out in transition.  One of the things I kept telling our guys was if they don’t score, they can’t press.”  

The Pokes had four players in double-figures for the 14th time this season. Sophomore guard Justin James led the way with a game-high 21 points for his 11th game this season with at least 20 points. Junior forward Alan Herndon added 14 points and has hit at least two three pointers in eight-straight games. 

Senior Jason McManamen added 11 points and is now 11 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Monday marked the 100th straight game he has played in for UW. Junior guard Jeremy Lieberman added 10 points and tied a career-high with seven assists. Redshirt freshman Andrew Moemeka tied career-highs with six points and six rebounds.

The Cowboys shot 49 percent from the field and hit 10 three-pointers for their 11-straight game with double-digit triples. The Cowboys also dished out 18 assists on their 26 baskets on the night. UMKC’s 34 percent from the field was the lowest allowed since Troy shot 34 percent against UW in December.

The Cowboys opened the contest on a mission capitalizing on their first four opportunities. James opened the game with a jumper and Lieberman, McManamen and once again James added triples to make it an 11-0 game 1:45 into the first half.

The Cowboys continued the barrage building the lead to 19-4 on a James three pointer with 14:07 left in the first stanza. He opened the game a perfect 3-of-3 from the field with two three pointers. The Roos cut the lead to under double-digits with four-straight points to make it a 25-19 game with a tick under nine minutes left in the opening frame.

The Cowboys built the lead back to double-digits with a put back slam from Moemeka making it a 34-22 game with four minutes left in the opening half. UMKC’s DashawnKing hit a three to cut the UW lead to seven points and closed the half trailing 38-32. 

After UMKC cut the Cowboy lead to three points on a three-pointer to open the second half, UW went on a 9-0 run to make it a 47-35 game with 16 minutes remaining in the game. The Cowboys moved the lead to 14 points on a transition alley-oop from Lieberman to junior guard Louis Adams that got the Cowboy faithful on their feet.

The Cowboys maintained the double-digit lead until the 6:07 mark of the game, as the Roos made it 61-53 on an in bounce play by Kyle Steward. Broderick Newbill made it a 64-60 game at the 3:42 mark with a jumper that was part of a 14-3 run, but Herndon added a pair of free throws to push the lead to 66-60 with 2:14 left in the game.

James pushed the lead to seven points with an acrobatic layup with 1:25 remaining making it a 68-61 game. The Cowboys maintained the lead from there on their way to the 72-61 victory.

The Kangaroos were led in scoring by King with 16 points, as he hit three triples and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Kyle Steward added 15 points and leading scorer LaVell Boyd was held to only five points.

Wyoming hosts Utah Valley on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.