In one of the most gutsy performance in Arena-Auditorium history senior guard Jason McManamen recorded a career-high 30 points in a career-high 57 minutes in the Pokes’ 102-100 quadruple overtime win over Fresno State on Wednesday evening in the Arena-Auditorium. It was the second time in school history the Cowboys played four overtimes, UW defeated Air Force in four periods of extra time by a score of 83-76 Jan. 28, 2002. It is tied for the longest game in the NCAA this season after Alabama and South Carolina went to four overtimes last night.
Wyoming moves to 16-9 on the season and 6-6 in the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State is also 6-6 in conference play and falls to 14-10 overall.
“That was two good teams out there tonight,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “You have to give Fresno State credit, especially being on the road to withstand the blows and continue to keep fighting. I also want to commend our guys for staying the course and coming away with a very good victory, which this time of year is critical to help position ourselves for a strong finish in league play.”
The Cowboys held Fresno State without a field goal in the final 2:16 of the fourth overtime and in that stretch junior guard Jeremy Lieberman hit two midrange jumpers to lift the Cowboys to the win. The Cowboys finished 20-of-24 from the free throw line in the extra sessions for 83 percent.
“There are times during a season when you tell your guys to do whatever it takes to get it done, and tonight our guys stuck with it,” Edwards said. “They never wilted under the pressure, never gave up on the situation.”
The Cowboys had chances to win the contest in the first three overtimes, but Fresno State put up a Dog fight at the end of each extra period. FSU’s Deshon Taylor hit three free throws with two seconds left in the first overtime and added two more free throw makes to tie the contest in the second overtime. His teammate Jahmel Taylor hit a three pointer to tie the contest at 90-90 in the third overtime with 44 seconds remaining.
McManamen’s 30 points was paced by seven three pointers, falling one shy of his career high of eight that he made at the Arena-Auditorium against Fresno State last season. His 57 minutes in the game are the second-most ever in a game for a Cowboy, one shy of Donta Richardson’s 58 minutes in a quadruple-overtime game against Air Force.
Junior forward Hayden Dalton added 21 points and 20 rebounds for the first 20-20 game in the Arena-Auditorium since Reggie Slater recorded 29 points and 27 rebounds against Troy on Dec. 14, 1991. Its also the first 20-20 game for a Cowboy in since HL Coleman against UNLV in 1997. Junior forward Alan Herndon tied a career-high with 17 points including a career-high four three pointers. Sophomore guard Justin James added 10 points and senior Morris Marshall added six points all of which came from the free throw line in overtime.
The Cowboys hit 15 three pointers on the night, as that is the third most in a game in school history. The Pokes now have 226 on the season ranking second behind last season’s 307 in single season school history.
The Cowboy defense held Fresno State to 36 percent from the field. It marked the 13th time this season UW has held an opponent to under 40 percent from the field. The Pokes’ 60 rebounds ties for the third-most rebounds by any team at Arena-Auditorium, and is Wyoming’s single-game high in the Mountain West era.
“One of the keys was to rebound well tonight, and I have not been around a game where we got 60 rebounds,” Edwards said. “It was a tremendous effort and H.D. (Hayden Dalton) had 20 or them by himself. And that trickled, Al (Herndon) had eight. Justin James had nine. Jordan (Naughton) had six. As we move forward, we’re going to continue to need that kind of effort.”
Both teams used 5-0 runs on their way to a 7-7 score four minutes into the contest. The Pokes 5-0 run tied the game, but Fresno State went on a 7-0 run holding UW scoreless for nearly four minutes making it a 14-7 game six minutes in the opening stanza.
The Pokes would later cut the deficit to one point at 16-15 on a three pointer by James with 10:08 remaining in the half. But the Bulldogs built the lead back to six point using a 5-0 run highlighted by a fast break dunk by Paul Watson to make it a 21-15 game.
The Pokes would cut it to one point at the 7:35 mark of the frame on a layup from Dalton off a great pass from Herndon to make it a 21-20 game. A deep three pointer by James tied the game at 27-27 at the five minute mark, followed by a triple by McManamen to give UW a 30-27 lead.
The Cowboys went over four and a half minutes without a point to close out the half. But UW held the Bulldogs to only one bucket taking a 30-29 lead into the half. The Pokes shot 55 percent from beyond the arc in the opening half going 6-of-11.
Fresno State opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 35-30 lead on the Pokes two minutes into the frame. The Pokes cut the lead to two points at 39-37 on a fast break three pointer from Herndon with 16:20 remaining in the frame.
The Pokes took the lead back on another triple by Herndon to make it a 44-43 game with 13 minutes remaining in the half. The Pokes would maintain the lead until a 6-2 run by Fresno State gave them a 52-49 lead halfway through the second stanza.
The Pokes tied the game 52-52 on a McManamen triple, but that was responded with a 5-0 run by Fresno State to take a 57-52 lead with 8:30 left in the half. McManamen tied it one again on his sixth triple of the game to make it 57-57 with just under six minutes remaining.
After McManamen hit another triple to give UW a lead at 61-60. The Bulldogs would build their lead to 65-61 with 2:38 remaining thanks to five straight-points from Taylor. Dalton tied the game on a layup with 44 seconds remaining. McManamen had a chance to win the contest, but missed his first three point attempt of the game as time expired.
The Bulldogs were led in scoring by Deshon Taylor, as he had 32 points on the night. He was 17-of-18 from the free throw line. Jahmel Taylor added 18 points and went 4-of-7 from the three point line. The 90 field goal attempts by Fresno State was the third most in Arena-Auditorium history.
The Cowboys return to action on Saturday heading to Utah State to take on the Aggies for a 7 p.m. start in Logan, Utah.