The Cowboys (13-6, 3-3 MW) scored a season-high 48 points in the paint on their way to a 80-70 win over San Jose State (9-8, 2-4 MW) in the Event Center in San Jose, Calif. on Wednesday evening. Sophomore forward Jordan Naughton led the Pokes with 15 points on the night.
“Any win on the road is great for our basketball team,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “Just for the growth of our ball club we had to learn how to win on the road to move forward. We focused on defending and ball movement in the first half and found a way to overcome not having that success in the second half.”
Naughton did his damage in the paint, as the California native recorded five dunks on the night for UW. He also added five rebounds and went 7-of-9 from the field. Junior guard Louis Adams was solid off the bench with 14 points. He was 6-of-8 from the field.
“I thought Jordan had a great game being a presence and demanding the basketball,” Edwards said. “What was great was the ball movement and getting open shots. We kept our composure down the stretch and didn’t panic. We made some free throws late to close the game out.”
The Pokes had four players in double-figures, as it marked the 10th time this season UW has had four or more players in double figures. Senior guard Jason McManamen added 10 points for UW and moved to a tie for fifth in career three pointers at UW with his 168th career triple. Sophomore guard Justin James also added 10 points. Junior guard Jeremy Lieberman added nine points and was dominate defensively against the SJSU guards. Junior forwards Alan Herndon and Hayden Dalton led the Pokes with six rebounds apiece.
Wyoming shot 46 percent (31-of-67) from the field on the night with the Spartans going 28-of-62 for 45 percent. The Cowboys dominated the boards on the night grabbing 41 in the contest to the Spartans 35. The solid night on the glass led the Cowboys to a season-best 21 second chance points.
“At the end of the day I don’t care about the makes in the misses, I care about how we help each other out on the floor,” Edwards said. “Our guards got in paint and helped our big guys, it was a complete team effort to pick up a road win.”
Both teams got off to a fast start making the first seven baskets of the contest. The Pokes got out to an early 10-6 lead thanks to three dunks with two from Naughton and one from Herndon. The Pokes quickly built their lead to 10 points to lead 16-6 thanks to Naughton’s third dunk of the night and a three pointer from Lieberman.
The Cowboys held San Jose State scoreless for nearly six minutes, as the Pokes used a 12-0 run to build a 20-8 lead halfway through the first half. The Pokes defense stifled the Spartans and James took charge helping the Pokes build their lead to 26-14.
Adams came off the bench and helped the Pokes build the lead to 35-18, as he scored five-straight points. At the 7:10 mark of the half, UW was shooting 56 percent and holding SJSU to only 30 percent.
SJSU cut the Cowboy lead to 10 points at 39-29 with a little over three minutes left in the first stanza. UW would close out the second half on an 11-2 run to take a 50-31 lead into the break. The Cowboys dominated the paint in the first half with 32 points.
Naughton picked up right where he left off in the first half adding two dunks to open the UW second half to help build a 21 point lead for UW. SJSU used a 6-0 run later in the half and cut the Pokes lead to 12 points at 59-47 with 14:20 remaining in the frame.
Adams added five-straight points for the Pokes once again, which including a shot clock beating triple to help build the Cowboy lead back to 15 points at 64-49 with 12:20 remaining in the second half. SJSU would later cut the lead to single digits on a jumper by Ryan Welage with under nine minutes left in the frame.
After the Pokes built their led back to double-digits, San Jose State cut the lead to nine points at 74-65 with a pair of free throws from Brandon Clarke with 4:17 remaining in the game. The Pokes offense struggled from the field without a field goal for the final seven minutes. But UW hit free throws late to hold on for the 80-70 win.
Clarke led all scorers with 19 points on the night for SJSU. He finished with a double-double, as he also added a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Cowboys head to New Mexico for a 6 p.m. start on Saturday in a game on CBSSN.