85 Seconds to Defeat: Cowboys Late-Game Free Throw Failures Costly vs. UNLV
From the desk of Nick Seeman/Wyoming Athletic Department
LARAMIE – Wyoming seemed to be in control.
But then. ...
The Cowboys suffered a 78-69 overtime loss to UNLV on Saturday evening in the Arena-Auditorium, missing five free throws in the final 85 seconds of the second half, and seeing a seven-point lead disappear.
The Cowboys held UNLV to 22 percent from the field in the opening half, but the Runnin’ Rebels responded by shooting 50 percent in the second half and overtime.
The 22 percent in the first half by UNLV was the lowest by an opponent since Colorado State shot 20 percent in the first half on Jan. 7, 2015.
“We were up seven points with about a 1:20 left in the game, and we missed five free throws down the stretch by some of our better shooters,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “At the end of the day, that is the time when you want to go to the free-throw line and extend your margin and make it tougher on your opponent. But we missed them and they (UNLV) came down and made a three, made another bucket and then hit a couple free throws at the end to tie the game and get the game into overtime.”
The Cowboys led 63-56 after Hunter Thompson hit the first of two free attempts with 1:25 remaining in regulation missed his second shot, Jake Hendricks missed two attempts a pair of attempts with 1:04 to play, and Thompson missed two more free throws with 41 seconds remaining.
In the meantime, UNLV's Marvin Coleman hit a three-pointer to cut Wyoming's lead to 63-59 with 1:13 to play. Nick Blair's layup with 43 seconds remaining in regulation pulled the Cowboys within two. Aand Donnie Tillman hit two free throws to tie the score with 12 seconds left to force overtime.
Wyoming was led by freshman Kwane Marble with a career-high 19 points playing a career best 30 minutes. He was 4-of-4 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Senior Jake Hendricks added 18 points with six three pointers on the night. Redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado added 16 points and led the team with eight rebounds. He led the team with eight rebounds.
Wyoming was outrebounded 52-28 for the evening. Wyoming forced 14 turnovers and scored 21 points off those miscues. Wyoming also added 12 assists for the game on 17 field goals. Wyoming was held to 33 percent from the field and held UNLV to 39 percent, including 20 in the first half for the lowest in an opening frame under Edwards.
“I thought we did a good job ourselves taking care of the basketball (Wyoming committed only seven turnovers in the game),” Edwards said. "Our game plan defensively going into the game was to keep them off guard by changing up our defenses between man and zone. The only mistake we made in zone was we lost their best shooter, number 10 (Jonah Antonio), a few times and he was able to capitalize. We did force them into 14 turnovers, and we got out in transition a little bit and took advantage of those turnovers.”
The Cowboy defense did not allow UNLV a field goal in the opening six minutes of the contest. The Pokes used a lob dunk from Banks and a trio of threes -- two from Hendricks and one from Thompson-- to build an 11-1 advantage.
Wyoming, however, made only two field goals in the final 14:55 of the first half, but managed to hold a 27-22 lead thanks to hitting 11 of 15 free throw attempts. Hendricks hit a three-point shot at the 7:10 mark, and Maldanado hit a jumper with 1:26 remaining before halftime.
The Runnin’ Rebels opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 29-27 advantage. Marble ended the run with a fast break steal and layup and a free throw to give Wyoming a 30-29 lead with 16:15 left in the game. Marble reached double figures in scoring 15 seconds later with a three-point shot.
Hendricks would add a pair of threes and help the Pokes build a 39-34 lead with 15 minutes left, but Donnie Tillman responded with an and-one play for a 39-37 game seconds later. The Pokes would then build the lead back to six with buckets from Maldonado and Marble.
The Runnin’ Rebels went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-54 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the contest. The Pokes went 0-4 from the field during the stretch that nearly three minutes. But Marble stopped the streak with a corner three and Maldonado added a pair of freebies to take back the lead 59-55 with 4:32 left.
UNLV battled back down 63-56 with 1:25 left to make it a 63-61 game with 43 seconds left and tied it on a pair of free throws and sent the game to overtime.
The Runnin’ Rebels hit a pair of triples to open the overtime period and took a 69-63 lead. The Pokes would use the free throw line to make it a 71-68 game with 1:46, but Jonah Antonio added a triple to build the lead back to 74-68 with 1:33 left in overtime on their way to a 78-69 win, as Wyoming falls to 5-13 overall and 0-6 in MW play.
UNLV was led in scoring by Bryce Hamilton with 19 points for the evening. Antonio added 15 points hitting five three pointers on the night.
The Cowboys return to action on Tuesday heading to Nevada for an 8 p.m. MT start on CBS Sports Network.