Cowboys Use Three-Ball to Sink Furman, 78-71
* University of Wyoming press release
CONWAY, S.C., – The Wyoming Cowboys hit 12 three pointers on their way to a 78-71 win over Furman on Sunday morning at the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
The Pokes had four players in double-figures along with two players in Sam Griffin and Akuel Kot each added 20-plus points in the contest, as Wyoming moves to 4-1 on the season.
“The biggest thing is we’re really thankful to have the opportunity to come down here and play,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “To be a part of an ESPN Event is a big deal for the program. To have the exposure on TV for our program, you can’t ask for anything better. The hospitality of the entire event, it was a first-class operation. Coming into this deal, we didn’t quite know what we had. Obviously, our schedule the way we had it set up, felt like we needed to try and gain some confidence early knowing we were coming in here with a pretty much brand new team. How would we respond?... You have to evolve. Akuel [Kot] and Sam [Griffin], those guys are really good players. Sam, he really likes this gym. I should have kept the ball in his hands the entire time. I think he’s scored, in four games in this gym, like 120 points. I knew those guys had the ability to score but for us to really become a good offensive team, we have to have the ability to share the ball.”
Griffin recorded a season-high 26 points going 11-of-19 from the field. He also added four assists in the contest. Kot scored 20 points along with four rebounds. He was named to the All-Tournament team and after six games over two seasons in the tournament is the all-time leading scorer. Forward Caden Powell added his first career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, which was a career best. Guard Brendan Wenzel recorded 13 points on 4-of-6 from behind the arc and six rebounds along with two assists.
Wyoming shot 47.5 percent from field and 48 percent from behind the arc. Wyoming was also 10-of-12 from the free throw line and went 45-of-54 for 83 percent for the tournament. Furman held a 36-33 advantage on the glass and shot 41.5 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from behind the arc. Wyoming recorded 18 assists on 28 made baskets.
The Pokes got out to a 7-0 lead thanks to five points Kot. The run was ended by a three pointer by Furman for a 7-3 game nearly four minutes into the contest. Griffin would get into the scoring with five points, as Wyoming would take a 12-3 lead at the 14:12 mark of the first frame.
The Paladins went on an 8-0 run to make it a 12-11 contest with 12 minutes left in the first half. Kot ended the run with a layup. Brendan Wenzel hit a pair of triples and Griffin added a bucket, as Wyoming went on an 8-0 run to take a 25-15 lead with under eight minutes left in the first stanza.
Furman responded with a 7-0 run, but it was halted by a Griffin three pointer for a 28-22 lead for the Pokes with under six minutes left in the first half. Wyoming went over two minutes without a score, but Caden Powell added a pair of free throws and got a huge offensive board and found Wenzel for a three-pointer as Wyoming would take a 37-28 lead into the half.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Wyoming went on an 8-0 run thanks to back-to-back threes from Griffin and Kot for a 45-31 lead two minutes into the half. Griffin made it an 11-0 run for a 48-31 lead that capped an 11-0 run.
Furman went on a 7-0 run to make it a 48-38 game, but Powell added an offensive board and layup for a 50-38 game with under 15 minutes left. The Paladins made it a seven-point game at 53-44 holding Wyoming scoreless for over two and half minutes.
Kobe Newton hit a triple off a pass from Powell for a 62-50 lead with under eight minutes left. The Paladins went on an 8-0 run to make it a 62-58, but a bucket by Powell made it a 64-58 contest with five minutes left. Kot made it a six-point game at 68-62 with four minutes left.
Powell got to his first career double-double with a layup for a 70-62 contest with 2:52 left in the clock. The Paladins kept fighting and made it a three-point game at 70-67 with :140 left. But Wenzel hit a triple for a six-point game and Powell made it a 75-67 game with over a minute left.
The Pokes would get it done at the line and finish the tournament 2-1 with the 78-71 victory.
The Paladins were led by JP Pegues with 22 points. Marcus Foster added 18 points in the game.
The Pokes will return to action a week from Sunday in a road contest at No. 19 Texas in a 1 p.m. MT start on the Longhorn Network.
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