LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team had a two-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in overtime, but California closed the game with an 11-3 run to earn a dramatic 78-72 overtime win in the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday afternoon. The Bears (6-2), who are receiving votes in both national polls, snapped a 16-game home nonconference winning streak for the Cowboys (5-3).
Both teams had their moments in front of 6,568 fans in the Double A. The Pokes led by seven in the first half, while the Bears built a 12-point advantage in the second. Wyoming would charge back with a 17-5 run down the stretch to force the extra period and took a 69-67 lead with 2:44 remaining in overtime. Cal would earn baskets on its next four possessions, though, to pull back in front by six with 24 seconds left. Freshman guard Justin James hit a three to cut the deficit to three, but the Bears made free throws in the final 12 seconds to ice the game.
"The thing I was proudest of was we were down 10 [points] with nine minutes to go and, a lot of teams I've been around with poor chemistry, you go to being down 19 or 20 in a hurry, but we tied that thing up and we had a chance to take the lead with about 30 seconds to go," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said.
Senior guard Josh Adams once again led Wyoming with a game-high 32 points to go with four assists, two steals and a block. His five threes tied a career high, as he played 42 minutes for his second 30-point game this season and fifth with 20 or more. Sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes contributed a career-high 10 points and three rebounds in a career-high 28 minutes, while fellow sophomore forward Alan Herndon paced the Pokes on the boards with seven rebounds, nine points and two steals. Junior guard Jason McManamen had nine points in a career-high 43 minutes and James finished with nine as well.
Wyoming shot 44 percent (24-of-55) from the field, but just 30 percent (7-of-23) from deep and 65 percent (17-of-26) at the free-throw line. UW's 55 attempted shots were its most this season, while its seven made threes tied a season low. Cal countered with 44 percent (28-of-63) and 42 percent (8-of-19), respectively. The Bears earned a 43-32 advantage on the boards, including 12-5 in offensive boards, but committed 26 fouls to 16 for the Cowboys.
"For the most part we did rebound pretty well," Shyatt said. "I talked about that earlier in the season. That is the part of this picture that we cannot change. We can try to counter it. We can try to coach a little better. We can try to teach a little bit better, but the one piece that is not going to change for months is the fact that we are light inside. We can still try to take advantage of that and make some pretty good plays. But the physicality aspect of the game is just going to be difficult for those guys until Mother Nature takes over."
The defeat was UW's first in the Dome of Doom to a team outside the Mountain West since a loss to SMU on Dec. 20, 2013. It also was just the Pokes' second home loss under Shyatt in December, as they are now 17-2 under his tutelage during the month.
The Cowboys return to action hosting Southern on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.