Courtesy Wyoming Media Relations
LARAMIE, Wyo. (March 1, 2014) – Sophomore guard Josh Adams scored a career-high 29 points and the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team held a 38-32 lead at halftime, but Boise State shot over 60 percent from the field and beyond the arc in the second half to earn a 72-63 Mountain West win on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (17-12, 8-8 MW) led by as many as 17 points early in the contest, but had all five starters play over 32 minutes for the game.
“We have a very small margin of error that got reduced in the last 10 days,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “We have to try to find a way to overcome that, and we are working to find a way to overcome that. I thought for a large portion of the game, we gave Boise, one of the best four teams in the league, everything they wanted. It may have been that our guys were a little bit exhausted at the end. We thought about using our bench some more, but it was a close enough game in the second half that we chose not to sub that much.”
The Pokes scored their most first-half points of the MW season, as both teams shot over 50 percent from the field in the opening half. The Broncos (19-10, 9-7 MW) maintained that pace in the second half with 60 percent from the field and 63 percent from deep, while holding Wyoming to 27 percent and no threes on three attempts in the half. Despite the shooting woes, the Cowboys were within six with 2:46 left. Boise State would close the game with a 6-3 run, though, to take the victory.
“I’m proud of the way our guys fought back in the last three to four minutes of the game to get back within six points,” Shyatt said “But during that time period, we missed two free throws, a two-pointer by Josh [Adams] and a two-pointer by Nate [Sobey]. Everything has to go right at this time of year. When you’re playing in the Mountain West against one of the better, more veteran teams, everything has to go right. As I said we have a small margin of error.”
Adams scored 19 of his career-high 29 points in the first half to blow past his previous best of 20. He connected on a career-high 10 field goals on 20 attempts to end the game shooting 50 percent. He also added three steals in 39 minutes of action. Junior guard Riley Grabau scored 13 points for his 16th game in double figures this season and also contributed five assists, while going a perfect 9-of-9 at the free throw line. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. posted 11 points and six rebounds in a career-high 35 minutes.
The Cowboys shot close to their season-average at 48 percent (22-of-46), but managed just 25 percent (3-of-12) beyond the arc. Boise State’s 56 percent (27-of-48) from the field and 50 percent (8-of-16) from deep were both season highs for a Wyoming opponent. The Broncos outrebounded the Pokes 31-18, including 23-7 in the second half, and earned a 19-0 advantage in bench points. It was the first time this season Wyoming’s bench didn’t score a point.
The Cowboys started the game hot by hitting seven of their first eight shots, including opening with three-straight threes from Adams, while holding the Broncos to a 1-of-5 start. Cooke and senior guard Nathan Sobey got into the action with layups to push Wyoming’s advantage to 17 at 21-4 seven minutes into the game. Boise State crafted a quick 7-0 run to get back into the game, but the Cowboys kept the lead around 10 points until the three-minute mark and went into halftime up 38-32.
Adams had 19 points in the first half to help Wyoming shoot 67 percent (16-of-24) from the field and 33 percent (3-of-9) from deep. Boise State kept pace at 52 percent (12-of-23) from the field and 38 percent (3-of-8) beyond the arc. Wyoming earned an 11-8 advantage on the boards in the first half and 6-2 in assists. Both teams had 16 points in the paint.
Wyoming plays its final road game of the regular season at Utah State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT.