Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Robert Gagliardi

Cowboys begins CBI with 10-point win over Eastern Washington


March 17, 2017

COURTESY/ Jacob Byk/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Wyoming guard Jeremy Lieberman shoots from the side during the game between the University of Wyoming and Eastern Washington University at Arena-Auditorium Wednesday in Laramie. Wyoming won 91-81.

LARAMIE - Justin James became the University of Wyoming's leading scorer this season by coming off the bench.

The sophomore guard made his first start of the season in the Cowboys' first-round game of the College Basketball Invitational against Eastern Washington. And, it was business as usual for James as he led five Cowboys in double figures with 19 points as UW won 91-81 in front of 1,803 fans at the Arena-Auditorium on Wednesday night.

After the game, UW announced it will host Missouri-Kanas City at 7 p.m. Monday in the quarterfinals of the CBI. UMKC (18-16) defeated Green Bay 92-82 Monday in another CBI first-round game.

"Having that first start at home felt good to come out and bring that energy," James said.

There was a long list of season-highs for UW (19-14):

- 58.3 percent shooting from the field.

- 35 baskets.

- 61.1 percent shooting from 3-point range.

- 50 bench points.

- 45-point advantage in bench points.

Nine of the 10 Cowboys who played scored. UW had 21 assists, the second-most in a game this season, and committed only nine turnovers.

The Cowboys led for all but eight seconds in the game; a far cry from its 83-68 loss in the first round of the Mountain West tournament where it fell behind 25-0 less than nine minutes into the March 8 game.

"We weren't thinking about the (Air Force) game and just came ready to play," James said. "We had the mindset of winning this game and that we were going to move on in the tournament."

The Cowboys led 44-32 at halftime. The game was tied 18-18 with 11 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first half, but UW went on a 23-8 run over the next 7:30.

Eastern Washington (22-12) started the second half with a 10-1 run, and with 13:45 to play cut UW's lead to 54-53.

The Cowboys answered with a 9-0 spurt over the next 2:30 and led by 10. The Eagles got no closer than seven points after that.

Junior forward Hayden Dalton had 18 points and six rebounds off the bench, and had five points during that 9-0 run. Junior guard Lou Adams (16 points) and redshirt freshman Cody Kelley (10 points) also came off the bench.

Senior forwards Jacob Wiley and Felix Von Hofe, and junior wing Bogdan Bliznyuk combined for 72 of Eastern Washington's 81 points. Bliznyuk led the way with 29 points. Wiley had 26 points and entered the game 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He was 3 of 4 against UW.

"I commend our guys for staying the course," first-year UW coach Allen Edwards said. "Even with (Eastern Washington's runs) our effort was there.

"We couldn't take away everything, but we also were good at attacking them on the offensive end as well. When our defense is clicking and our offense is clicking, I still believe we are a pretty good basketball team."

UW gets a chance to show and prove that at least one more time Monday.

"We're grateful for the opportunity be playing in this tournament, and given ourselves more opportunities to mature as a group and a program," Edwards said.

Experimental rules

All CBI games this year are using experimental rules involving team fouls.

There were no one-and-one free throws after a team picked up its seventh foul in a half. Teams shot two free throws after the opposition picked up its fifth foul, and the foul count was reset midway through each half.

The shot clock reset to 20 seconds if it was already under 20 seconds, or if there was a frontcourt, non-shooting foul or a defensive technical foul.

Free throws

Redshirt freshman forward Andrew Moemeka made his first-career start for UW, and finished with four points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 19 minutes. ... With 11 3-pointers, UW broke its single-season record with 318. The old record was 307 set by last season's squad. During the regular season, UW broke its single-season record for 3-point attempts, and now has 916. ... The Cowboys made 11 3s against Eastern Washington, and has made double-digits 3s in 10 consecutive games. ... UW moved from fifth to second for most points is a season with 2,570. The record is 2,641 by the 1999-91 team, which did it in 32 games. ... UW improved to 3-4 in the CBI, including 3-2 at home, and is 19-29 in the postseason in school history. ... The Cowboys won their 29th consecutive game against a Big Sky Conference foe, and are now 6-0 all-time against Eastern Washington. ... UW improved to 12-2 this season when scoring 80 points or more.


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