Wyoming Gets Defensive in 67-60 Win Over College of Charleston
* University of Wyoming press release
CONWAY, S.C., – The Wyoming Cowboys held the College of Charleston to 31.5 percent from the field and held the Cougars without a field goal for nearly the final four minutes of the game in a 67-60 at the Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, S.C. on Friday.
Guard Sam Griffin scored 24 points in the game with 22 coming in the second half.
“It was one of those games. We knew it was gonna be a fist fight. [College of Charleston Head] coach [Pat] Kelsey and his program, there’s a reason why they’ve won a lot of games,” UW head coach Jeff Linder. “We knew that they were gonna come out, especially after a loss, and play at the standard that they play at. For us going in at half the big thing was can we learn from the Saint Louis game. In the second half against Saint Louis, our defense faltered a little bit. With our collective effort and toughness, we knew we had to exceed Charleston’s to have a chance to beat them.”
Griffin was 6-of-7 from the field in the second half and 3-of-3 from behind the arc in the frame. He was also 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Guard Akuel Kot added 10 points alongside forward Caden Powell. Powell also added seven rebounds. Guard Brendan Wenzel added four points but led the team with eight rebounds and six assists.
The Wyoming defense held Charleston to 19 percent from behind the arc going 7-of-37. The Pokes shot 54 percent from the field going 21-of-39. Wyoming shot 40 percent from behind the arc and were 19-of-25 from the free throw line for 76 percent. The Cougars held a 38-32 advantage on the glass and forced 22 Cowboy turnovers. Wyoming was great in transition with 13 points on the afternoon.
“To find a way to win that game, the only way you can do it is by getting stops and I thought our guys just did a tremendous job on a team that’s really hard to guard,” Linder said. “They got a lot of guys that can space the floor and shoot it. We found a way. It’s a make or miss game. That’s a team that’s going to shoot the ball well over the course of the season, but for right now for whatever reason their balls are not going in.”
The Cougars got off to a 6-0 lead in the opening 90 seconds of the contest. The Pokes went on a 9-0 run battling in the paint and held the College of Charleston scoreless for nearly five minutes for a 9-6 lead. C of C would then take a 12-9 lead after a 6-0 run.
Kobe Newton made a layup as part of a 6-2 run for the Cowboys to take a 15-14 lead with under nine minutes left in the opening frame. The two teams battled back-and-forth in the final nine minutes of the half until Wyoming closed out the half on a 5-0 run fueled by a Kot three pointer and a pair of free throws from Powell for a 30-25 lead at the half.
Wyoming would continue the solid defense holding the Cougars to only one bucket in the opening 3 and a half minutes and built a 33-30 lead. C of C would take a 37-35 lead on a slam with 15 minutes left in the contest.
Griffin would go on an 8-0 run himself with a three pointer and a and-one play for a 43-37 lead with 13:33 left in the contest. Wyoming would enjoy a 46-40 lead but would go scoreless for over four minutes and the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take 47-46 lead with 8:34 remaining.
A pair of free throws from Cam Manyawu and a bucket from Oleg Kojenets made it a 51-47 game with seven minutes left. Charleston battled to tie the contest at 54-54. The Pokes would take the lead in the contest on a jumper from Griffin and a free throw from Newton with under three minutes left.
Griffin would hit a huge three pointer that gave Wyoming a 62-57 with 1:26 remaining. He added a pair of free throws for a 64-57 advantage with 37 seconds remaining. Wyoming would seal the game at the free throw line and take the 67-60 lead.
The Cougars were led by Ben Burnham with 19 points. He also added eight rebounds in the game to lead the team.
The Cowboys will face either Coastal Carolina or Furman on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. MT in a contest on ESPNU.
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