James Reaches Milestone, Cowboys Shutdown San Jose State
From the desk of Nick Seeman
Wyoming Athletic Department
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cowboys senior Justin James became the sixth player in Mountain West history to score 2,000 points, and Wyoming's defense shutdown San Jose State in the second half for an 81-71 vicdtory on Wednesday night. The Cowboys allowed San Jose State to hit only 27 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half.
“I thought everyone played a part tonight night,” Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. “Some big roles and some small, but everyone played a role tonight.
"I was so proud of what we were able to do defensively in the second half especially after not playing a lot of man. It was a complete team win. I gave the team a challenge to bring great energy and they gave myself and the staff great energy.”
James scored 25 points for his 27th game in double-figures this season and the 90th of his career. He also added 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season and the 15th of his career. He now has 2,002 career points.
“Jake (Hendricks) and Justin (James) were special tonight and A.J. Banks played well defensively in the second half,” Edwards said. “To get 2,000 points speaks to the type of player he has become. He is so unselfish, but finds ways to score. Saturday will be a big night and opportunity for our fans to come out and support our seniors.”
Freshman Trevon “TJ” Taylor added 10 points for his eighth game in double figures this season. Junior guard Jake Hendricks added 20 points for his 10th game in double-figures. He finished the game with six triples and has six in back-to-back games. Junior guard A.J. Banks finished with 13 points for his third game in double-figures this season. Wyoming had four players in double-figures for the first time since their game against Denver on Dec. 11.
Wyoming shot 46 percent from the fied, and held SJSU to 36 percent. Wyoming hit 11 threes on the night for back-to-back games with double-digit threes. The Pokes also grabbed 40 rebounds for the most in conference play this season.
Hendricks, Thompson and Banks got the Pokes off to a 9-1 lead in the opening three minutes off play using the three-ball. In fact, after missing the first attempt of the game, Wyoming would hit three-straight.
Taylor would get hot for the Pokes getting into double-figures halfway through the half. Taylor helped the Pokes build a lead as high as 14 points at 17-3. But the Spartans would start knocking down shot and cut the deficit to 23-16 with 10:23 left in the opening half.
Noah Baumann would hit four-triples helping make it a four-point contest at 31-30 with five minutes left in the first half. The Spartans would take the lead a minute later on a layup from Craig LeCense.
The Pokes would find their offensive rhythm to close the second half with a 6-0 run in the final minute with threes from James and A.J. Banks to make it a 42-37 Wyoming lead at the break. Each team shot 50 percent from the field in the opening frame.
The Pokes would maintain their advantage in the early goings of the first half and built an eight point advantage at 52-44. Banks would push it to 10-points with another alley-oop jam with 14:40 left in the game.
The Spartans would use the free throw line to make it a six point game at 56-50 with 12 minutes left. The Pokes would go scoreless for nearly three minutes allowing the Spartans to close the gap at 58-54 until Hendricks hit a three pointer and a layup from Brandon Porter made it a 63-54 game with 7:37 remaining.
But the Spartans would battle back using an 8-0 run to make it a 63-62 game with five minutes to play. SJSU would make three-straight field goals during the run. Hendricks knocked down his fifth three of the game to give Wyoming some breathing room at 68-64 with 4:33 remaining.
Hendricks would hit his sixth three of the game to put the Pokes up by six at 71-65 with 2:26 remaining. After struggling from the line the whole game the Pokes would make it when it counted and took the 81-71 win.
San Jose State was led in scoring by Baumann with 27 points. He finished with seven three-pointers for the evening. He was held to only one triples in the second half.
The Cowboys return home on Saturday hosting New Mexico for Senior Day. Seniors Justin James and Jordan Naughton will be honored before the contest. The game is set for a 4 p.m. start that will feature up to 50 percent off all concessions in the Arena-Auditorium.