The Wyoming Cowboys Outscored Incarnate Word 34-15 in the final five minutes of regulation and overtime to take a 94-83 win on Wednesday evening in the Arena-Auditorium. Sophomore Kenny Foster, who appeared in his first game of the season scored a career-high 21 points off the bench to lead the Pokes.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “At any point in time when we were behind, our guys could have said it’s not our night but it really started at halftime in the locker room. Our strength coach, Jimmy, was in there and he said it was as good a locker room as he’s seen in a long time. That is when things started to change. No one pointed fingers at one another. They were unified and encouraging one another.”
Wyoming had five players score in double figures for the night. Foster, who scored a career-high in the final game of last season was 6-of-8 from the field and 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Freshman Marcus Williams tied a career-high with 20 points and added five rebounds and six assists. Junior Hunter Maldonado added 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds along with six assists.
Sophomore Kwane Marble II made his season debut and added 12 points and six rebounds. Freshman Xavier DuSell added a career-high 11 points, as the Wyoming bench scored a season-high 46 points on the night.
“Being our third game in five days, it was in a way like our first game of the season because for the first time we had Kwane (Marble) and Kenny (Foster) back tonight,” Linder said. “With those guys back, we had to figure out how they fit into the lineup.”
Wyoming dominated the glass late and in overtime for a 43-30 advantage for the game. It was the first double-digit rebound margin since Texas State on Dec. 16, 2017. The Cardinals shot 52 percent from the field, as Wyoming shot 47 percent. Wyoming also scored a season-high 10 points in transition.
“We really didn’t get into a rhythm until late in the game,” Linder said. “I give credit to Incarnate Word. They came out and showed a zone on defense for the first pass or two and then they would switch to man. On offense, when they started making some shots it gave them confidence, and they have some good guards.”
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively with the Cardinals taking an early 5-3 advantage on the Pokes, as Wyoming started the game 1-of-5 from the field. The two teams would exchange buckets over the next several minutes.
UIW would gain the advantage by using a 6-0 run to build a 17-10lead halfway through the half. They would use a four-point run to build a 24-15 advantage with six minutes left in the half, but the run was halted by a three-point from Dusell and a layup from junior forward Hunter Thompson.
The Cardinals closed the half strong with the Pokes recording only one basket in the final three minutes to trail 33-27 at the break. Wyoming shot 56 percent in the first half in the first two games of the season, but shot 30 percent on Wednesday in the opening 20 minutes.
Incarnate Word opened the second half on a 6-2 run to build their lead to 39-30. Wyoming followed that up with a 4-0 sprint with a dunk from Maldonado on the fast break as the highlight. After a 5-0 run by UIW, Marble II went on a 5-0 run himself for a 46-40 game.
The Cardinals used two baskets to build a 10-point lead at 50-40 with 12:51 left in the game. Wyoming from there would try to cut into the UIW lead, but the Cardinals would responded to build the lead on several occasions and led by 11 Points with 5:56 left in the game at a 68-57 score.
Wyoming used a full court press and responded with an 11-0 run to tie the contest at 68-68 with 4:13 left. DuSell started the run with a triple and Hunter Maldonado hit four layups during the stretch that lasted just over 90 seconds.
“Late in the game when we were down 11, we put the press on and turned the momentum around,” Linder said. “You could see toward the end that Kenny and Kwane, having played together all last year, had a sense of where each other were going to be and did a good job of playing off one another.”
After an and one-play by UIW to take the lead back, Wyoming went on a 9-2 run to build a 77-73 advantage with twenty-five seconds remaining. A Foster three-pointer and a fast break slam from Williams highlighted the run.
But the Cardinals battle their way back into the game and Will Drew Lutz hit a three pointer to send the game to overtime with six seconds left.
The Cowboys dominated the overtime period opening it on a 13-2 run thanks to six-straight points from Foster. He scored eight of the Pokes first 10 points in overtime, as the Pokes took the contest 94-83.
Incarnate word was led by Keaston Willis with 25 points and eight rebounds. Marcus Larsson added eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Wyoming returns to action on Sunday heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on Oregon State in a 2 p.m. MT start on the PAC-12 Network.