LAS VEGAS -
Senior guard Josh Adams posted 31 points, seven threes, five rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks, but it wasn't enough for the University of Wyoming men's basketball team in a 79-74 loss at UNLV on Saturday night. The Cowboys (13-17, 6-11 MW) dropped their 15th-straight contest in the Thomas & Mack to the Rebels (17-13, 8-9 MW) since 2003.
The Pokes took their first lead of the game with nine minutes left in the game, as the two fought through five ties and eight lead changes down the stretch. The Rebels retook a six-point lead, before Wyoming had the ball down four with 38 seconds to go. That's when Adams unfortunately had a turnover and fouled out of the game on the ensuing play. UNLV would hit six of its next eight free throws to hold off the Pokes for the win.
"They did about everything they could to put this game in hand," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "I believe we finally took the lead with about nine minutes to play. Some untimely turnovers, but I have never been prouder of a ball club. I told our guys I would take you in the SEC, ACC and the Big East because you play the game the right way on the court and off the court. Make no mistake you guys will go out and compete hard for Josh Adams on Wednesday night."
Despite the final result, Adams continued to make his case for Mountain West Player of the Year. He posted his ninth 30-point effort this season to move into second in UW single-season history with 694 points in 2015-16 and sixth on UW's career list with 1,773 during his time in brown and gold. His seven triples give him 21 over the last three games and 93 this season, while his four steals and two blocks both tied career highs. He also played in his 129th game at Wyoming to tie for second all-time.
Junior guard Jason McManamen added 19 points, including three triples of his own, and led the Pokes with six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jeremy Lieberman and freshman guard Justin James also had six boards each.
Wyoming shot 41 percent (24-of-58) from the field for the game and 39 percent (12-of-31) from deep for its sixth-straight game with at least 10 triples. UNLV made 46 percent (23-of-50) and 38 percent (9-of-24), respectively, but both teams pulled down 36 rebounds. The Rebels led 21-12 in assists and 16-10 in points off turnovers. UW's 26 fouls were the second most it has committed this season, as the Rebels' 24 free-throw makes and 34 attempts were both season highs for a Cowboy foe.
The Pokes played from behind the whole first half, as they missed their first 10 shots and let the Rebels build an 11-point led in the first five minutes. That advantage would grow to as much as 12, before Wyoming battled back to cut the deficit to two twice with five minutes left. UNLV would once again go ahead by double-digits, but again the Cowboys fought back to cut the lead to two and went into halftime down just four, 37-33.
Adams had 14 points, including three triples, in the first half, while McManamen added 12 points. The Cowboy shot just 33 percent (10-of-30) from the field and 33 percent (5-of-15) from deep compared to 43 percent (12-of-28) and 39 percent (5-of-13), respectively, for the Rebels.
Wyoming returns home to host San Jose State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Adams will be honored for Senior Night, as the Cowboys play in their last regular-season game before the Mountain West tournament.