First Half Run Hurts Cowboys in 80-65 Loss to Boise State

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A six minute scoreless drought by Wyoming added with a 12-0 run by Boise State was too much for the Cowboys (14-8, 4-5 MW) to overcome in an 80-65 loss to the Broncos on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. Boise State (13-7, 6-3 MW) hit 12 three pointers for the game, tying the most given up by UW this season. Wyoming struggled from behind the arc going 3-of-21. BSU also added 32 bench points to the Pokes’ 18, as UW’s bench has only been outscored four times this season.

“I thought we had one of our best practices in preparation for this game and one of our best shoot-arounds, but that didn’t carry over to the game,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “I thought we came out sluggish this afternoon from the start. “But I have to give credit to Boise and what they did today.  I thought they did an excellent job of moving the basketball and they had a number of different guys make shots for them.”

Senior guard Jason McManamen hit three triples on the night moving into a tie for third with Riley Grabau with 171 career three pointers at UW. He finished with 11 points for UW. Junior guard Louis Adams led Wyoming in scoring pouring in 12 points. Junior forward Alan Herndon and sophomore forward Jordan Naughtonadded 10 points apiece. Herndon tied a career-high with four blocks on the night and led UW with seven rebounds. Naughton was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field.

“If there was anything positive out of this game it was for Jason (McManamen) seeing the ball go through the net from three,” Edwards said.  But it was a flip flop from previous games in that we couldn’t get anyone else to knock down a three. 

The Pokes shot 40 percent (22-of-55) on the night. The Cowboys were effective in the second half shooting 46 percent, after shooting 33 percent in the opening frame. BSU shot 48 percent in the opening frame and finished the night shooting 42 percent (23-of-55).

Boise State grabbed 42 rebounds to UW’s 31 on the night. UW though would outscore Boise State in the paint 30-14. Wyoming also recorded six blocked shots on the night and had 11 turnovers to the Bronco’s 13.

Both teams got off to a fast start in the opening four minutes of the contest. BSU’s Chandler Hutchison had six points to give Boise State an 11-10 lead. Naughton and Adams did the damage for UW with six points from Naughton and four from Adams.

After the teams exchanged leads for a matter of minutes, Boise State built a 20-16 lead on a three pointer by James Reid at the 11:25 mark of the half. The Broncos added to the lead making it 29-16 at the 7:17 mark after a scoreless streak by the Cowboys of over six minutes.

The Cowboys offense struggled to get going the remainder of the half shooting 33 percent. The Pokes average 44 percent from the field in home games this season during the first half, as UW went into the break trailing the Broncos 42-28.

Boise State continued the pressure in the second half opening the frame on an 8-4 run to make it a 50-32 game three minutes into the second half. The Cowboys cut the lead to 15 points at 53-38 on a three-point play from redshirt freshman guard Cody Kelley.

A pair of dunks by James helped energize the Arena-auditorium crowd halfway through the second half, helping UW cut the deficit to 16 points at 62-46.  McManamen hit a triple at the 7:06 mark of the half to cut the BSU lead to 13 points at 64-51. 

The Cowboys got the lead to 12 points on a dunk by Herndon with 5:15 remaining, but Boise State hit free throws late on their way to the 80-65 win.

Reid led Boise State in scoring with 16 points on the night. Hutchison added 14 for BSU with guard Austin Paris pouring in 15 points. Guard Justinian Jessup led the Broncos with seven rebounds.

The Cowboys return to action on Tuesday heading to San Diego State for a showdown with the Aztecs at 9 p.m. MT on CBS Sports Network.