Missoula, MT – The Wyoming Cowboys landed in Montana for their regular season road debut and found themselves in a dogfight until the very last second.
The Cowboys survived a second-half slump to come back and beat the Montana Grizzlies 73-72 in Missoula. The Griz, a perennial Big Sky favorite under Travis DeCuire used timely shooting and big runs to keep the score within their range.
Wyoming was led in scoring by senior Jason McManamen who piled in 20 points. McManamen was 3-9 from behind the arc tonight. On his first consecutive three point shot tonight McManamen moved into a tie for 10th place on Wyoming’s all-time list for three-point shots made. McManamen’s free throws down the stretch were clutch in sealing a victory for the Cowboys. He was 11-14 on the night from the charity stripe.
Justin James had quite a night off of the bench, scoring 19 points in 27 minutes. He was 8-17 from the field. Joining him off the bench was Hayden Dalton who had 11 points and hauled in 13 rebounds to lead all players in 30 minutes of work. Dalton, was also 2-4 from three-point range.
The Cowboys showed incredible resilience during the game. At the half, the Cowboys led 41-35 and were 50% shooting when the first buzzer sounded. As the second half began the Grizzlies came out on an 8-0 run while the Cowboys were shooting just 12% from the field, with one field goal made. The Cowboys came storming back with some timely three-pointers from Alexander Aka Gorski and Allen Herndon to begin closing the gap. Edwards thought that the team, “popped the ball around the perimeter too much and settled” instead of on balance shots early on.
The Cowboys defense tightened up when the game was going back and forth within the five-minute mark. Over the course of that stretch Wyoming held the Griz to just seven points. The Griz led by as many as nine and were on a 19-6 run in the first ten minutes of the second half. Edwards said he never sensed any panic from his guys, even down nine points.
Coach Allen Edwards noted after the game that his team “showed incredible resilience down the stretch.” He also talked about how in practice “getting a stop, or three stops in a row, or a stop in a game and it came earlier than we expected.”
In the first half, Lou Adams was making a play on the basketball underneath of the hoop and came down hard and crashed into the basket. At that point, Adams did not return to the game. Edwards said post game that he talked to Adams and said he was good.
Edwards made adjustments late in the second half to fight off Montana’s onslaught of points and it paid off. By using skill plays such as Hayden Dalton and Al Herndon the Cowboys were able to draw some fouls down the stretch and make the Griz shoot over the top of them.
For the Grizzlies true freshman Sayeed Pridgett put on a display in his home debut by scoring 20 points in 27 minutes of action. Redshirt freshman Jared Samuelson recorded 15 points. Fabijan Krslovic had 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies. The Griz shot 49% from the field.
The Cowboys will be at home on Saturday for a home game against South Dakota State. The game will tip-off at 7:00pm as part of a doubleheader with the football game vs San Diego State kicking off at 1:30pm.