• Pokes trailed by 10 points in the second half
Assistant Athletic Director, Communications
University of Wyoming Athletics
The Wyoming Cowboys erased a 10-point second half deficit to earn a 78-70 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes used six second half threes and hit a season-high 25 free throws. The Pokes move to 6-3 overall and SFA, one of the top teams in the Western Athletic Conference falls to 5-5 on the season.
“Our guys executed the game plan and did a good job in post defense coverage in the second half,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “They force you to beat them off the bounce and we were able to put them in more rotation and did a good job adjusting and got a good win. We made a run and guys stepped up and made big shots and got the crowd into it.”
The Pokes were once again led by the backcourt duo of Sam Griffin and Akuel Kot. Griffin recorded 23 points and has scored in double figures in 42-straight games with the contest marking his fourth game this season with 20 or more points. Kot added 19 points and has scored in double figures in 16-straight games. Kobe Newton added 14 points off the bench tying a career best. Cam Manyawu added 12 points on 6-of-9 from the field. Forward Caden Powell added 10 rebounds to lead all players.
The Cowboys shot 56 percent from behind the arc for the third-straight game shooting 50 percent or better from behind the arc. Wyoming shot 44 percent from the field in the game and 86 percent from the free throw line going 25-of-29. SFA shot 45 percent from the field and 32 percent from behind the arc. Wyoming held a 33-31 advantage on the glass in the contest.
The Pokes got off to a 7-0 lead in the opening two minutes with a pair of buckets from Manyawu and a triple from Wenzel. SFA would go on an 10-0 run over three minutes to make it a 10-7 game, but a Griffin three-pointer at the 14:39 mark tied the contest.
The Cowboys later go scoreless for over three minutes until Griffin hit a pair of free throws to make it a 16-15 contest for SFA with just over 10 minutes left in the half. The Lumberjacks added their fifth triple of the game and took a 22-19 lead with eight minutes left in the frame.
Stephen F. Austin built the lead to 26-21 at the seven-minute mark and later pushed the lead to eight points at 32-24. Turnovers haunted the Pokes for stretch that saw SFA push the lead to 10 points at 38-28 with under three minutes left in the half.
Kot would give the Pokes a spark going on a 6-0 run himself for a 40-36 game at the half. Kot got to double-figures with the run, as he has done so in 42-straight games in his career.
Both offenses started slow in the second half, but Kot added a triple for a 42-39 game for SFA with 17:31 left in the game. A three-pointer by the Lumberjacks made it a 47-41 game with 15:42 left in the game with the lead going back to 10 points as part of a 7-0 run.
Wyoming went on a 5-0 run to make it a 51-46 game 12 minutes left thanks to a big three from Kot. Wyoming later made it a four-point game on a Kobe Newton three pointer nearly halfway through the half.
Griffin made it a two-point game at 57-55 with 8:02 remaining with a pair of free throws. Newton tied the game at 57-57 at the free throw line with 7:28 left in the contest. Griffin would bury a three-pointer after great ball movement and a technical foul on SFA would give Wyoming a 63-59 lead with under six minutes left.
Brendan Wenzel would find Newton for a corner three for a 68-63 game with just over four minutes left. The lead was pushed to six points at 69-63 with under three minutes left. Griffin hit a floater for a 71-63 game with two minutes left.
The Lumberjacks would make it a four-point game, but Griffin would push it to seven-points with a triple, but it was answered right back by SFA. But Kot added free throws and the Pokes would ride the line to the win to move to 4-0 at home this season.
The Lumberjacks were led by AJ Cajuste with 13 points. Sadaidriene Hall added 11 points in the contest.
The Cowboys remain at home and play host to Weber State. That game is slated for Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.