LARAMIE, Wyo. – Senior forwards Alan Herndon and Hayden Dalton combined for 39 points to help the Cowboys (7-3 Overall) tame the Pacific Tigers (5-6 overall) 86-72 on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys shot 52 percent from the field, their third game this season shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
“You’re always happy to come out with a ‘W’, but win or loss you still have to be able to look at yourselves and ask ‘did we do everything the Cowboy way,'” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “There were some things we could have done better. I got on our guys quite a bit about doing a better job of listening and taking what we talked about in our preparation in shoot-around and film sessions this week and execute the game plan that we talked about. I thought there were a couple times in the game where we got away from what we wanted to do.”
Herndon led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Dalton posted 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and 15th of his career. Sophomore guard Cody Kelley earned his first start of the season, and led the Pokes with five assists and three steals. The Cowboys are 3-0 this season when Kelley leads the team in assists.
Senior guard Louis Adams added 14 points off the bench. Junior guard Justin James added 14 points as well, as James played 24 minutes in the contest going 5-of-10 from the field.
The Cowboys shot 44 percent from behind the arc on the night going 12-of-27. Wyoming has hit double-digit three pointers in six-straight games in the Arena-Auditorium. Wyomingheld a 39-36 advantage on the glass, as Pacific had been outrebounding teams by over five a game coming into Saturday. The Pokes also held a 34-20 advantage in the paint.
“I’m always talking to our guys about growing and improving, and two areas where I think we can do that is rebounding and taking care of the basketball,” Edwards said. “We were a little careless early in today’s game, but I thought we did a pretty good job in the game overall. I liked that we were able to out-rebound a team (in Pacific) who had 21 offensive rebounds the other night and who has as one of their mantras getting on the offensive glass. Not only did we out-rebound them, but we only allowed them seven offensive rebounds.”
The Pokes opened the game by hitting their first three field goals in the first 90 seconds of the contest. Senior guard Alexander Aka Gorski and Herndon added three pointers alongside a fade away jumper from Dalton. But that lead was short lived, as the Tigers went on a 6-0 run to tie the contest at 8-8 at the 16:39 mark of the opening frame.
The Pokes went on a 5-0 run to build a 16-11 lead at the 11:16 mark of the half. Kelley added his second triple of the game followed by a layup by Dalton on a slick pass from James. The Pokes would build the lead to double-digits minutes later at 23-13 on a transition three pointer from Adams.
The Tigers got back in the game with a 12-0 run over nearly four minutes to take a 27-25 lead with 4:51 remaining in the opening frame. The Pokes went 0-of-7 from the field during the stretch, as the Tigers hit five straight shots.
Herndon took over for the Pokes with nine straight Points for UW to give UW a 34-29 lead with 2:35 left in the half. Herndon attacked the basket with a layup and two dunks and added a three pointer as well. Herndon and James added points from the line, as UW took a 38-34 lead into the half. Both teams shot 45 percent from the field going 14-of-31.
After a slow start to the second half Herndon and James helped the Pokes push their lead to nine points at 49-40. Herndon added a layup and a three pointer that followed a steal and fast break dunk from James.
Dalton pushed the lead to double-digits at 56-45 on another fade away shot with 12:37 left in the game. It was right after he recorded his 10th rebound of the game for the double-double, as it was the third-straight game a UW player has had a double-double.
James helped give the Pokes their largest lead of the game to that point at 69-56 with 8:16 left thanks to five-straight points from the Preseason All-MW selection. The surge helped him score in double-figures for the fifth-straight game.
The Cowboys went on a stretch of 6-of-8 from the field to build a 14 point lead at 76-62 with a little over five minutes remaining. The Pokes continued their dominance in the half shooting 58 percent in the frame on their way to the 86-72 win.
Pacific’s offense was led by redshirt-junior guard Miles Reynolds with 21 points off the bench, including 10 points at the free throw line. Redshirt-junior forward Jack Williams led the Tigers with 10 rebounds.
The Cowboys return to action on Tuesday hosting Eastern Washington for a 7 p.m. start in the Arena-Auditorium.