BILLINGS, Mont. -
Senior guard Josh Adams notched a career-high 36 points, but the University of Wyoming men's basketball team came up on the short end of an 83-82 neutral-site contest with Montana State on Sunday in Rimrock Auto Arena. The Pokes (2-2) had a chance to tie with 11 seconds left, but Adams was called for traveling after he slipped on the floor and the Bobcats (3-2) made free throws to seal the win.
"First and foremost compliments to Montana State," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "They beat a Mountain West team the other day by 12. We got them at a high and they played well. As much as I hate to admit it, in the last minute and half of play they got two loose balls that were 50-50 balls and we missed free throws. That hurts. You don't want to learn lessons by losing."
In a game that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes, the Cowboys were in front 78-77 with two minutes remaining after a dunk from sophomore forward Alan Herndon. MSU retook the lead with a layup and extended it to three at 81-78 after free throws. Adams cut the advantage to two on a made free throw and the Cowboys got the ball back after the Bobcats committed a turnover. That's when Adams drove to the left of the arc with four seconds left, but lost his footing and went to the floor as he attempted to pass. He was called for traveling and the Pokes were forced to foul. MSU hit both free throws and Adams put in a long three with time expiring for the final margin.
Adams' 36 points surpassed his previous career best of 29 against Boise State on March 1, 2014, as he added four assists and three rebounds. He was 9-of-15 from the field, 5-of-9 from deep and 13-of-16 at the free-throw line for his second-straight game with more than 20 points and 14th of his career. He was just four points shy of Wyoming's all-time top 10 and scored the most by a Cowboy since Larry Nance Jr. knocked in 38 at Denver on Dec. 15, 2013.
Sophomore guard Alexander Aka Gorski added nine points thanks to three triples, while junior guard Jason McManamen had eight points. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon posted a team-high seven rebounds and two blocks to go with six points.
As a team, Wyoming shot 53 percent (24-of-45) from the field and 48 percent from deep (12-of-25), as the Cowboys' 12 made threes tied for sixth in UW's single-game history. The Pokes added a 22-of-31 showing (71 percent) at the charity stripe. Montana State shot 49 percent (29-of-59) from the field and 48 percent (12-of-25) beyond the arc, while claiming a 33-27 advantage on the boards. Both teams had 20 points in the paint, but the Wyoming bench outscored MSU's 28-16.
The first half featured runs from each team. The Pokes trailed 8-2 early, but strung together a 22-6 run to go in front 24-14 at the eight-minute mark. The Bobcats responded with a 14-2 spurt of their own to retake the lead, as the squads traded baskets until Wyoming took a 31-30 advantage at halftime. Adams had nine points in the first half, while freshman forward Justin James added seven and Aka Gorski had 6. Adams and Aka Gorski both had two threes in the first half.
Wyoming shot 40 percent (10-of-25) from both the field and beyond the arc (6-of-15) in the opening period, but let Montana State hit 46 percent (11-of-24) and 46 percent (5-of-11), respectively. The Bobcats earned a 17-12 advantage on the boards.
The Cowboys return to the Arena-Auditorium to host CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT.