LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 08: Wyoming Cowboys mascot Pistol Pete holds up a sign on the court as the team takes on the UNLV Rebels during a quarterfinal game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center March 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 56-48. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
This one came down to the wire but the Cowboys still ended up victorious. Wyoming used a strong second half and some clutch shooting to advance past the North Dakota State Bison 78-75 in the first round of the CBI. It was the first post season victory for Wyoming since 2003. This was not your typical Cowboy basketball game as there was plenty of scoring by both teams and not the strong Poke defense we've known been accustomed to this year.
Both teams shot over 50% in the first half and the score was tied at 37 at halftime. Wyoming put on a strong surge to start the second half but wasn't able to pull away. The Bison ended up shooting themselves in the foot by getting in foul trouble with 28 team fouls. Wyoming went to the free throw lines 41 times and made a season best 29 free throws. If the Cowboys could have converted a couple more free throws then this would have been a much more comfortable victory.
Leonard Washington played like a men amongst boys tonight. He finished with a game high 22 points and 11 rebounds. His night also included a couple impressive dunks that only the people in the AA witnessed since the game wasn't televised. Luke Martinez nearly pulled off his first ever double double with nine points and career best ten rebounds. Pako Cruz scored 14 points but also had five of the Cowboys 17 turnovers.
It was great to see the Cowboys pull out a close victory and keep their season alive. Lately the Cowboys have been on the short end of close games but not this time. Next up Wyoming will travel to Pullman and face the Washington State Cougars on Monday, March 19th at 8pm MST. The Cougars beat San Francisco on Tuesday night 89-75. Apparently the reason Wyoming will be traveling is because Washington State was promised a home game if they advanced out the first round. WSU is on spring break this week and they didn't want to host a game with no students. Wyoming was in the same situation and still hosted the game. The result was a paltry attendance of 2,723. The Cowboys apparently would host a semifinal game if they defeat Washington State.
Cowboy Joe: Leonard Washington put the team on his shoulders when they needed it most.
Cowboy Low: 17 turnovers is uncharacteristic of the Cowboys and they almost gave away the game.
Cowboy Foe: The Bison came out shooting and had a solid team effort with five players scoring in double digits. Impressed by the effort of this young team that was playing on the road.