RENO, Nev. -
Senior guard Josh Adams notched 26 points, but the University of Wyoming men's basketball team began the 2016 calendar year with a 71-68 loss at Nevada on Saturday afternoon in the Lawlor Events Center. The Cowboys (7-8, 0-2 MW) were within one in the final 30 seconds, but the Wolf Pack (9-5, 1-1 MW) hit a three to earn their third win over Wyoming in 16 tries.
"I shared with our team in the locker room, clearly I have to do a better job getting them ready at the beginning of the game," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We gave them an eight-point spot. They came back as they always have in every game. Then I have to do a better job getting them ready in the second half, because we spotted them an eight-point lead once again."
After trailing by eight with five minutes left, the Cowboys sparked a comeback with threes from Adams, junior guard Jason McManamen and sophomore forward Alan Herndon to pull within one at 65-64 with 44 seconds remaining. The Wolf Pack would respond with a three of their own with 20 seconds left to extend the lead back to four and forced a late Pokes turnover for the win.
Adams' 11th 20-point game this season came on 8-of-19 from the field, 3-of-7 beyond the arc and 7-of-11 at the free-throw line. He grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and dished out two assists. Freshman guard Justin James added 12 points, one shy of his career high, for his sixth game in double figures and grabbed seven rebounds as well, a career best. Herndon finished with 13 points thanks in part to a career-high three triples. Sophomore forward Hayden Dalton tied his career best with six rebounds and set a new career high with four assists.
For the game, Wyoming hit 39 percent (19-of-49) from the field, 48 percent (10-of-21) beyond the arc and 71 percent (20-of-28) at the charity stripe. Nevada connected on 44 percent (24-of-55), 46 percent (5-of-11) and 78 percent (18-of-23), respectively. The Cowboys outrebounded the Wolf Pack, 37-33, to win the rebounding margin for just the fourth time this season, but committed 17 turnovers to just 11.
The Pokes got off to another slow start in the first half, as the Wolf Pack built a seven-point lead early, but Wyoming fought back to tie the contest at 10-10. The two squads were tied six times and would trade the lead seven times over the next 10 minutes, before the Cowboys used an 11-0 run with five minutes left in the half to build a 37-34 lead at the break.
Adams and James both had 11 points in the first half, while Herndon added six. Adams grabbed five rebounds to three for James. Wyoming shot 44 percent (11-of-25) from the field in the opening half, 42 percent (5-of-12) from deep and 72 percent (10-of-14) at the free-throw line. Nevada hit 42 percent (10-of-24), 50 percent (2-of-4) and 80 percent (12-of-15), respectively. Wyoming won the battle on the boards, 17-16, as both teams had seven turnovers in the first half.
Wyoming hosts its first home game of the MW season by welcoming Air Force to the Arena-Auditorium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT.