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Cowboys Fight Past Fresno State 55-51 in Overtime

Head Coach Larry Shyatt
Photo by Townsquare Media

To say the game was physical, does it no justice. In another defensive slug fest, the Wyoming Cowboys out-lasted the Fresno State Bulldogs 55-51 in overtime Saturday at the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys out-scored Fresno State 14-2 over the final 8:20 of game action, including the overtime period.

Wyoming (18-7, 4-7) managed to scrap together six points and hold the Bulldogs to two in the extra five minutes. Derrious Gilmore hit a basket and two free throws, while Leonard Washington and Riley Grabau added one free throw apiece. It was enough for the Pokes to win back-to-back games in conference play for the first time this season.

Gilmore said, “We’re gonna fight all the way to the end, no matter what’s going on, no matter how bad things look. We’re going to stick together, and we’re just going to play till the last buzzer sounds.”

Washington led UW with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Gilmore scored 12, while Nathan Sobey added 10 off the bench. The Cowboys were 18-40 (45%) from the field, just 2-11 (18.2%) from beyond the arc and only 17-33 (51.5%) at the foul line.

Kevin Foster came off the bench and had 14 points to lead Fresno State. Tyler Johnson chipped in 13. The Bulldogs shot 21-63 (33.3%) on field goals, were 4-18 (22.2%) from deep and just 5-8 (62.5%) at the charity stripe. They out-rebounded UW 42-31, which included 17 offensive rebounds.

Fresno State (8-16, 2-9) had a 14-point lead, at 35-21, early in the second half before Wyoming steadily chipped away. An 8-0 run over the final 2:02 of regulation tied it at 49. A key steal and dunk by Washington got the Cowboys within one, at 48-49, with 27 seconds left. After another Bulldog turnover, Gilmore hit 1-of-2 free throws and tied it at 49 with 9.6 second to go. Fresno State had an opportunity to win it, but Kevin Foster missed an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer.

In the heart of the game two things happened said Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt, “I thought our guards finally started to fight ball screens, and fight and squeeze over hand-offs, which would take pressure off of Leonard and Nance inside, and they could patrol a little better, and they did, Sobey in particular. Then I thought when (Jack) Bentz came in the game, because I knew Derrious was ill, and I knew he didn’t have probably the energy to last 40 minutes, I thought he really steadied the ship and did exactly what we wanted.”

It was tight game until the last five minutes of the first half. Following a Sobey 3-pointer at the 5:55 mark pulled UW within one, at 16-15, Fresno State ended the first half on a 15-6 run. Foster came off the bench and scored all 10 of his points on 4-of-4 shooting, which included a pair of 3′s, to spark the Bulldogs run.

Sobey said of the physical nature of the game, “They’re a hard playing team and play like that for the whole 40 minutes. So, it was always gonna be hard for us to just come out think it’s gonna be easy getting through screens and stuff like that. Yeah, it was like a war.”

Wyoming returns to action at San Diego State on Tuesday night. Game time is 8 p.m. You can listen to Cowboy basketball on Y95 Country with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m.

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