Poor Second Half Costly to Pokes

by staff–3 Feb ’16

Senior guard Josh Adams scored 20 points for his 17th 20-point effort of the season, but the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team dropped a 70-62 game at Air Force on Tuesday night in Clune Arena. The Cowboys (11-13, 4-7 MW) led by 14 in the first half, but went cold after halftime to help the Falcons (11-12, 2-8 MW) charge back and break an eight-game losing streak.

“We got an early lead, but we got too comfortable and once the avalanche hit and we started to miss shots, we couldn’t turn it,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “Josh [Adams] got in early foul trouble, but I thought the difference in the game was [Air Force’s] Hayden Graham, Frank Toohey and Zach Moer. They finished interior shots and blistered us inside. Those guys had their own inside against our interior.”

The Pokes were up by seven at 48-41 with 11:54 to play, but made just three field goals the rest of the game. Air Force would outscore Wyoming 29-14 over that span to build a nine-point lead with three minutes remaining, before making free throws to seal the win. The Cowboys were hindered by a season-high 28 fouls and committed more fouls than their opponent for just the third time this season.

Adams’ 20 points came with eight rebounds and four assists, as he moved into seventh in Cowboy history with 353 assists. He also played in his 123rd game in brown and gold to tie Larry Nance Jr. for eight all-time. Junior guard Jason McManamen chipped in 17 points, including four triples, and now has made nine threes over the last two games. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon added 11 points and two blocks, but became just the eighth Cowboy to foul out this season.

Wyoming shot 43 percent (20-of-47) from the field and 36 percent (9-of-25) from deep, but allowed Air Force to make 52 percent (23-of-44) and 31 percent (4-of-13), respectively. The Cowboys were 13-of-20 at the charity stripe to the Falcons’ 20-of-30. Air Force outrebounded Wyoming by one, 29-28, and earned a 28-18 advantage in points in the paint.

The Pokes controlled the majority of the first half, but the Falcons hung tough. Wyoming led by 10 after the first seven minutes thanks to threes from McManamen and sophomore guard Alexander Aka Gorski, but Air Force would cut the lead to four at 20-16 midway through the half. The Cowboys would push the advantage back to 14 with less than two minutes remaining, before the Falcons scored the last seven points of the half to trail by just seven, 36-29, at the break.

Herndon paced the Pokes in the first half with 10 points, while Adams added nine points and four rebounds. Both teams shot 54 percent from the field, but the Cowboys made six of their 14 three-point attempts compared to just 1-of-6 for the Falcons. Air Force led 14-12 on the glass.

Wyoming returns home to host Utah State on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT.