Balanced Attack Helps Cowboys Down Aggies, 74-57

Feb. 1, 2014

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Sophomore guard Josh Adams' 19 points paced four Cowboys in double figures to help the University of Wyoming men's basketball team earn a dominant 74-57 victory over Utah State on Saturday afternoon in front of 5,981 fans in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (14-7, 5-3 MW), who played under the direction of assistant coach Jeremy Shyatt due to head coach Larry Shyatt being ill, improved to 8-0 this season when holding opponents under 60 points.

"Seeing [Larry] this morning and seeing that he is feeling much better put us all at ease and allowed us to all lock in and focus on Utah State, who is a very good basketball team," UW assistant coach Jeremy Shyatt said. "Obviously, we had him in our prayers before and after the game. He's going to be okay, and I know he was with us in spirit today."

After earning a 35-28 advantage at halftime, Wyoming came out of the locker room with an 11-3 run to jet out to a 15-point 46-31 lead just three minutes into the second half. Utah State (12-9, 2-7 MW) would never get within single digits again, as the Cowboys built their lead to as many as 21 points with six minutes left in the game.

Adams finished just one point shy of tying his career high, as he went 8-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 at the free throw line. He added a career-high eight assists and had just one turnover. Junior guard Riley Grabau posted his third-straight game in double figures with 15 points thanks in part to 3-of-4 beyond the arc. He has shot 70 percent (7-of-10) from deep over the last two contests. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. added 13 points, two blocks and two steals, while junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. finished just two rebounds shy of a double-double with 11 points and eight boards.

"I think today said a lot about our attack mentality," Shyatt said. "When you have a veteran team like Utah State coming onto your home court, you have to attack them first because they are such a seasoned team. I thought our guys did a good job of making decisions of when to attack and when to run some clock. Our guys made the smart play. What more can you say about a game where you have 15 assists and only five turnovers."

The Cowboys connected on 53 percent (24-of-45) from the field for their 11th game over the 50-percent mark this season and 57 percent (8-of-14) from deep for their fourth game over 50-percent beyond the arc. Wyoming added 85 percent (18-of-21) at the free throw line. The Aggies shot 40 percent (21-of-52) and 38 percent (7-of-18), respectively. Utah State earned a 32-26 advantage on the boards, but committed 10 turnovers to just five for the Pokes. UW led 15-7 in assists.

Wyoming started the game hot with makes on six of its first seven shots, including back-to-back threes from Grabau, for a 12-2 start over the first five minutes. The Aggies rebounded with a 13-3 spurt of their own to tie the contest at 17-17 with seven minutes until halftime. UW and USU would tie the contest twice over the next two minutes, before the Cowboys ended the half with a 7-2 run to go into halftime up 35-28.

The Pokes shot 55 percent (11-of-20) from the field in the first half and added 57 percent (4-of-7) from three, while missing just one of their 10 free-throw attempts. Utah State hit 40 percent (10-of-25) and 50 percent (4-of-8), respectively, in the first half. The Aggies earned a 17-9 advantage in rebounds, but committed eight turnovers to just four for the Pokes.

Wyoming starts a two-game roadtrip at New Mexico on Wednesday. Tip is set for 9 p.m. MT in The Pit.