FORT COLLINS, Col. – The Cowboys erased a 16-point deficit in the final 5:31 to earn a 91-86 double overtime win over Colorado State on Wednesday evening in Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. It tied the second largest comeback this season, as UW trailed by 16 against Boise State. Wyoming has played three-straight overtimes and six this season to lead the nation, as UW has gone 6-0 in extra time this season. The six overtime wins ties an NCAA Division I record.
“With five minutes left in the game, to find a way to get it to overtime and then to double overtime and come away with a win while you’ve got guys hopping and hobbling around but still showed the fortitude to fight through because of how much the team needed them is exciting,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “It’s a huge step, and we tried to tell our guys that even though they were missing two of their players, nothing changes. They’re still a physical team that loves to crash the offensive glass and I just thought we fought. It was another game where we could go back to earlier in the season and say we’ve been through this before.”
The Pokes went 5-for-5 in the final four minutes from behind the arc to spark the comeback, as UW finished the game with 14 three pointers. Wyoming moves to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in the conference with the Rams falling to 10-14 overall and 3-8 in the league.
Senior forward Hayden Dalton led all scorers with 26 points, shooting 8 of-16 from the field and 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Justin James notched 25 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double and 10th 20-point game of the season. Senior forward Alan Herndon filled up his stat line with 11 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the season, to go along with a career-high six assists and three blocks. Redshirt-junior guard Nyaires Redding recorded career highs with four rebounds and five assists, and also hit the crucial game-tying three-pointer with 12 seconds left in regulation.
The two teams posted nearly identical shooting percentages. The Pokes shot 41 percent from the field and 38 percent from long range, while CSU shot 39 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range. The Pokes’ bench outscored the Rams reserves, 24-7.
“A lot of teams look at our stature, we’re probably more skilled and slimmer than most teams, and they think we’re soft,” Edwards said. “Tonight in this game, with this environment and the team we were playing against, that’s toughness. What we did tonight was all about toughness. Physically, but mentally as well.
After the Pokes opened the game with a jumper from James, the Rams went on a 15-0 run to take a 15-2 lead, as Wyoming went scoreless for over six minutes. The Pokes broke the drought and hit back-to-back three pointers from Dalton and Adams to make it a 15-8 contest with 12:54 left in the half.
The Rams boosted their lead to 14 points at 24-10 using the three ball halfway through the half. Through the first 10 minutes of the frame Colorado State hit 5-of-10 from behind the arc. The Pokes struggled from the field hitting only three of their first 20 attempts.
Senior guard Alexander Aka Gorski hit a transition three to cut the lead back to single digits at 24-15 with 6:17 left in the half. Dalton cut the deficit to seven at 24-17, as UW held CSU scoreless five minutes during the run.
The Pokes cut the Rams’ advantage to three points at 27-24 with 2:47 left in the stanza on a triple from senior forward Alan Herndon and cut it to two points on a triple from Dalton a minute later. The Pokes took the lead on a Herndon and-one play to take a 32-30 lead into the half.
The Pokes closed the opening half going 10-of-30 from the field for 33 percent. The Rams hit 11-of-30 attempts for 37 percent. Colorado State led for a tick over 18 minutes in the opening half.
The Rams opened the second on a 5-0 run to take a 35-32 lead in the opening minute of the frame, but sophomore guard Cody Kelley halted the run with a three ball making it a 35-35 game. But CSU answered right back with a 6-0 run to make it 41-35 a minute later.
The Rams extended the lead to 10 points on a three pointer by Anthony Bonner with 12:48 left in the game. It marked three successful trips down the floor for Colorado State and later extended the lead to 13 points on another three a minute later.
The Pokes went scoreless for nearly three minutes with the Rams building the lead to 16 points at 62-46 with 5:31 left in the game. But four quick points by the Pokes on a pair of free throws by James and a full court press steal for a Layup made it a 62-50 game seconds later.
James hit back-to back threes to make it a 65-58 game with 3:34 left in the contest. But the Dieon James pushed the lead back to 10 points with an and-one play seconds later. But the Pokes would go away with six points from Dalton to make it a four point game at 68-64 with 2:44 left.
Aka Gorski cut it to one point with 1:11 left with a corner triple for a 70-69 contest. After Che Bob made it a three point game on a tip with 20 seconds left. Redshirt junior guard Nyaires Redding recorded his biggest shot in his Cowboy career hitting a three pointer to tie the game at 72-72 with 10 seconds left.
Bonner traveled with the Pokes getting one last shot up with just under two seconds left, but Dalton could not get it off with which lead to the Pokes’ sixth overtime contest of the season.
Dieon James would gave the Rams 76-74 lead with 2:23 left in overtime, but Aka Gorski responded with a triple seconds later to make it a 77-76 game for UW. But an and-one play by Bonner gave the Rams the lead by one at 79-77, but a banked three pointer by Dalton gave UW an 80-79 lead with 1:28 left. Dieon James hit a free throw with 39 seconds left and neither team could tally another point sending the game into double overtime.
Dalton opened the scoring in the second overtime with a three pointer and a James layup made it an 86-81 game in favor of the Pokes halfway through the period. James made it a five point game from with 1:42 left, but Logan Ryan made it a two point game 10 seconds later.
Forward Deion James led the Rams with 24 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, along with a team-best five assists. Guard Anthony Bonner posted 18 points and four assists.
Wyoming returns home on Saturday hosting Fresno State for a noon start in the Arena-Auditorium. That contest will be on AT&T SportsNet.