Adams Big Second Half Lifts Pokes to Border War Win

by staff–31 Jan ’16

Senior guard Josh Adams paced four Cowboys in double figures with 28 points to propel the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team to an 83-76 Border War win on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium.  The Cowboys (11-12, 4-6 MW) were tied with the Rams (12-9, 4-4 MW) at halftime, but opened the second half with a 21-6 run to capture a fourth-straight victory over CSU for the first time since 2002-03.

After just two points in the first half, Adams hit three of UW’s first five baskets out of the break to incite a season-high crowd of 8,148 fans in the Dome of Doom. The spurt grew with back-to-back threes from Adams and junior guard Jason McManamen, before Adams hit a jumper for UW’s largest lead of the game at 53-38 with 12 minutes left. As they have all season, the Rams would make it close at the end by pulling within five with 39 seconds remaining. The Pokes would hit four free throws down the stretch, though, to hold CSU at bay. The win came just hours after Wyoming announced former Cowboy All-American Kenny Sailors had passed away earlier in the morning at the age of 95. Sailors is credited with inventing the modern-day jump shot.

“We did a lot things right at the end of the game,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “I thought we were in the right defense. [Colorado State] made some good plays, as well. I thought we utilized the clock well, and we looked like a more mature team. Free-throw shooting is so unheralded, but it is so important. We made them when we needed to, to keep them at bay.”

Adams possibly did his best Sailors impersonation in the second half, as went 8-of-14 from the field after hitting just one of his seven attempts in the first half. His 28 points were his 16th 20-point effort this season, as he added four rebounds and four assists. McManamen had the jumper working as well, as he tied a career high with five triples en route to 19 points. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon and freshman guard Justin James added 10 apiece to help the Pokes improve to 5-0 this season when four Cowboys reach double figures. Herndon finished with four rebounds, three assists, a career-high three blocks and two steals.

As a team, Wyoming shot 49 percent (27-of-55) from the field, 32 percent (9-of-28) beyond the arc and 71 percent (20-of-28) at the free-throw line to amass its second-most points this season. Colorado State made 42 percent (26-of-62), 39 percent (7-of-18) and 57 percent (17-of-30), respectively. The Rams won the battle on the boards, 45-31, but their six assists and zero steals were season lows for a Cowboy opponent. Conversely, the Pokes had a season-low two turnovers and a season-high five blocks.

“I thought the second half we battled pretty well on the glass,” Shyatt said. “I thought that was a significant difference, and we’ve never had a team we coached here that had only two turnovers in 40 minutes. We talked at half that it was going to be a tight game. That is who we are, let’s embrace it, let’s look forward to it, let’s make the winning plays down the home stretch at both ends of the floor. And sure enough, that is what happened.”

The Cowboys are back on the road on Tuesday when they travel to Air Force for a 7 p.m. MT tip in Clune Arena