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    Cowboys and Cowgirls basketball both victorious Wednesday night against San Jose State

    Cowgirls win 70-56

    The Cowgirls (10-5, 3-3 MW) picked up their first road win of the season, taking care of the San José State Spartans (1-16, 0-6), 70-56. Wyoming evened its conference record with the win, and snapped its only two-game losing streak of the season so far.

    “I thought Marta Gomez got us off to a great start,” said head coach Joe Legerski. “I think she hit three three’s back-to-back-to-back. Then, San José State goes man-to-man, and it takes us a bit to make some adjustments and for the players to adjust. With the zone, we’re looking for who’s open and who to shoot. The other thing is, we had 10 turnovers in the first half. We talked about we had to take care of the basketball. We had one in the second half, and that one was on me.”

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    The Cowgirls were led by senior Marta Gomez, who scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds, as it was the fifth 20+ point game of her season. Junior Taylor Rusk and freshman Karla Erjavec joined her in double-figure scoring with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Both players shared the ball exceptionally well, finishing with a combined 13 assists. Senior Bailee Cotton had her fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. She also took her team-leading 10th charge of the season on the defensive end.

    The Cowgirls shot 45.8 percent (27-of-59) from the field, 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from three and 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from the free throw line. Wyoming ended the game with 21 assists and 11 turnovers. It is the fourth time the Cowgirls have had at least 20 assists in a game.

    The Spartans were led by Cydni Lewis, who scored 16 points and had seven rebounds. Rziya Potter and Fieme’a Hafoka joined her in double-figure scoring with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

    The Spartans shot 36.7 percent (18-of-49) from the field, 28.6 percent (2-of-7) from three point range and 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the free throw line. The Spartans are just the fifth team to make at least 10 free throws against the Cowgirls this season. They finished with eight assists and 13 turnovers.

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    Cotton opened the game’s scoring with a layup, and a pair of Gomez three’s put the Cowgirls up 8-2 early. In fact, Gomez scored 13 of Wyoming’s 22 first-quarter points. Rusk joined the scoring with a three of her own to put the Cowgirls up 16-6 at the 3:32 mark, and Wyoming used a 6-4 run to close out the quarter, 22-10.

    It took Wyoming three-and-a-half minutes to score in the second quarter. The Spartans used as 10-0 run to get within two points, 22-20, before Rusk scored a layup. A Rakovic jumper at the 5:11 mark put the Cowgirls up 27-22. Both teams struggled from the floor, but the Spartans made it to the free throw line in the second quarter, and cut it to 29-28 with less than a minute to go in the half. Rusk found a cutting Erjavec for a layup, but the Spartan’s 12th and 13th free throw attempts of the quarter went kept it close. However, Rusk was fouled with two seconds left, and she made both, giving Wyoming a 33-29 edge at the half.

    Cotton opened the half going 1-of-2 from the line, and Erjavec followed with a fast break layup. The Cowgirls scored the first seven points of the half before a Spartan layup fell. Erjavec found Gomez for a Cowgirl layup, and UW took a 45-33 lead into the media timeout at the 4:32 mark. But again, free throws brought Spartans back, and they made it a five point game, 47-42 at the 2:14 mark. Erjavec drained an elbow jumper, and after a defensive stop, Tapia made two free throws to give Wyoming a 56-44 lead at the end of the third quarter.

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    Erjavec and Gomez combined to make the first four points of the final period, but an SJSU layup answered. The Spartans called timeout at the 6:46 mark, trailing 62-48. Cotton scored her 11th points of the night on a wide open layup, giving Wyoming a 67-50 lead at the 2:35 mark. The Spartans called time after back-to-back baskets made it 67-54 at the 1:49 mark, and the game ended 70-56 for the Cowgirls.

    The Cowgirls return to action on Wednesday, January 23, when they host league-leading Boise State at 1 p.m. (MT) in the Arena-Auditorium.

     

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    Cowboys win 59-46

    The Wyoming Cowboys defense shined in a 59-46 win over San Jose State on Wednesday evening in the Arena-Auditorium. The 46 points was the fewest allowed under Allen Edwards and the lowest total since San Diego State scored 43 points in the Mountain West Championship game in 2015. The largest crowd of the season, 5787 fans, also saw Wyoming (5-14 overall, 1-5 MW) hold SJSU (3-15 overall, 0-6 MW) to a season-low 33 percent from the field.

    “First of all, I want to thank Maury Brown for his generosity in purchasing 2,000 complimentary tickets for fans for tonight’s game,” Edwards said.  “And I want to thank our fans for taking advantage of it and coming out and supporting these young men.  I thought the energy in the building was really, really good.”

    Wyoming shot a season-high 56 percent from the field going 23-of-41. Wyoming also recorded 10 steals on the night and has double-digit steals in back-to-back games for the first time since Denver (11/29) and Drake (12/2) last season. Wyoming also dished out 14 assists tying a season-high reached against South Carolina.

    “I complimented our guys at the end of the game, while it wasn’t perfect, I thought that was our best energy and effort that I had seen — guys flying around and making it difficult for San Jose State to score,” Edwards said.  “We didn’t do a great job rebounding, but we forced them into a lot of turnovers.  I think they committed 11 turnovers in the second half.”

    Senior Justin James led all scorers with 20 points. He also led Wyoming with five assists and recorded a career-high four steals. James now has 1,745 points in his career, as he passed Charles Bradley (1,744 from 1978-81) for seventh in school history. James has now scored in double-figures in 80 games in his career.

    Redshirt freshman Hunter Thompson added 14 points going 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Junior A.J. Banks led the Pokes with four rebounds and added a career-high four assists. Freshman Brandon Porter added seven points off the bench.

    “I thought we played team basketball,” Edwards said.  “Guys shared it, and J.J. was spectacular.  The other other guy I thought played really well was A.J. Banks.  He was very effective tonight.  He had a really solid 40 minutes, probably the best game he’s had all year in the sense of being active, defending, rebounding and playing with confidence on the offensive end of the floor.”

    The Cowboys raced out to an 11-0 lead on the Spartans in the opening five minutes of play. Wyoming held the Spartans to 0-7 from the field and James added six of the Pokes 11 points. UW opened the game going 4-of-5 from the field.

    The Spartans would go on a 7-2 run to make it a 13-6 contest with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. Porter would stop the run with a triple to build the lead back out to nine points and later to 12 points.

    The Spartans would go on an 11-0 run, holding the Pokes scoreless for well over four minutes to make it a 20-19 game with just over four minutes left in the half. SJSU tied the game at 22-22 with 1:45 left in the half and took a 24-22 lead with nine seconds left.

    James took the ball the length of the floor and hit two free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt for a 24-24 game heading into the break. Wyoming shot 53 percent from the field in the half, but recorded 10 turnovers.

    After the Spartans opened the second frame with four points, James added two triples to give the Pokes a 30-28 advantage three minutes into the frame.

    Wyoming would use those six points and added seven more over seven minutes to build a 37-28 advantage with just under 12 minutes left in the half. James would get to the 20 point mark during the run.

    After SJSU added a bucket, Wyoming would go on an 8-0 run led by a monster transition dunk by Trace Young to push the lead to 15 points with about eight minutes to play. Wyoming held that momentum with Thompson scoring 12 of his points in the second half, as his three point shooting was sprinkled into dunks from Banks and Young for the 59-46 win.

    The Spartans were led in scoring by Michael Steadman with 11 points and eight rebounds. Isaiah Nichols added eight points and three assists.

    The Cowboys head to Boise State on Saturday for a 2 p.m. MT start on Facebook.

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