LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Junior guard Josh Adams posted a season-high 16 points, but it was once again a strong defensive effort that gave the University of Wyoming men's basketball team a 57-39 win over Southern on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (10-2) held their eighth opponent this season to less than 50 points to improve to 10-0 at home.
"Even when we're ugly on offense or when shots aren't falling, the one thing our guys don't let their guard down on is defense," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "I'm really proud of these guys, because there have been times in the past when we've lost a key player or two and it might have degraded our play. But there was none of that today."
The Pokes led Southern (3-9) by nine at halftime, before redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen scored five of UW's next seven points to push the advantage to double figures five minutes into the second half. That lead never dipped back into single digits and Wyoming extended it to as much as 18 with five minutes left in the half.
"On paper, looking at the stats, we didn't look very good today," Shyatt said. "We missed free throws and had some untimely turnovers, but I've got to tell you, in the heart of the game, we didn't let our guards down on defense."
Adams' performance came on 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from deep for his seventh game in double-figure points this season, while he added three rebounds and three steals. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. was UW's leader on the defensive end, as he grabbed a season-high eight rebounds and tied a career high with three steals. He contributed 14 points as well, just the second time in his career with back-to-back games in double-figure points.
McManamen notched seven points in his second career start and first since February of 2013, as senior guard Riley Grabau sat with an injury. Redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon, UW's first big off the bench, also missed the game with an injury. Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. finished with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Wyoming shot less than 50 percent in a win for the first time this season, hitting 44 percent (19-of-43) from the field and 31 percent (5-of-16) beyond the arc. The Pokes held the Jaguars to 33 percent (16-of-49) and 30 percent (3-of-10), respectively, while earning a 34-32 lead on the boards and 13-6 in assists. UW's 20 points in the paint were a season low, but the Cowboys held the Jaguars to just 10 points inside and three threes, a season low for a UW opponent.
The Pokes conclude nonconference play on Tuesday in Bozeman, Mont., with a 7 p.m. MT contest against Montana State.