CONWAY, S.C. (Nov. 16, 2023) – The Wyoming Cowboys dominated the glass, but cold shooting and turnovers were too much to overcome in a 79-69 loss to Saint Louis in the opening round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational in the HTC Center in Conway, S.C.
“First of all, just proud of our guys’ effort coming into kind of like our first away game, even though it was a neutral game,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “Our team felt for the first time an experience playing a good A-10 team with a really good coach. We hadn’t felt that yet. I knew there was gonna be a little bit of an adjustment to that. Obviously, we didn’t handle the pressure like I thought we could have, even though if you go back and watch I don’t think it was necessarily from anything that they did crazy. I think it was just a matter of us just getting a little bit sped up. That’s going to happen early with such a new team. We’ll learn from it. It’s hard to win when you turn it over 19 times.”
Wyoming held a 46-33 advantage on the glass including 22 on the offensive glass. The 22 offensive rebounds were the most in a game since having 26 against Middle Tennessee State on Jan. 18, 2004.The Pokes recorded 19 turnovers in the contest. Wyoming was held to 35 percent from the floor and the Billikens shot 47 percent. Wyoming hit only three triples in the game with the Billikens scoring 24 points going 8-of-20 from behind the arc for 40 percent.
“The fact that we got 22 offensive rebounds, it gave us a chance to be in the game,” Linder said. “But it’s hard to win when you just give it away 19 times and so we’ll learn from it. We got to flush away pretty quick because we got a quick turnaround with College of Charleston.”
Forward Caden Powell recorded a career-high 17 points and tied a career-high with eight rebounds. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Forward Cam Manyawu recorded his third-straight double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Sam Griffin added 15 points with Akuel Kot adding 10 points. Guard Brendan Wenzel added six points and nine rebounds.
Griffin scored four-points early to give Wyoming a 6-4 lead in the opening three minutes of play. The Pokes held SLU scoreless for over five minutes and the Pokes went on a 10-0 run fueled by Griffin and Kojenets for a 14-4 advantage with under 14 minutes left in the first half.
Saint Louis would cut the Wyoming lead to three points at 18-15 with just over nine minutes left in the opening frame. SLU would later make three-straight baskets and make it a 23-20 opening 20 minutes of the contest. The Pokes held Saint Louis to no field goals over nearly three minutes and built a 27-22 advantage.
The Billikens took a 28-27 lead with under five minutes left in the first half. Sincere Parker added a triple to cap a 9-0 run for SLU for a 31-27 advantage. Kot would give Wyoming a 32-31 lead with a three-pointer with 85 seconds left in the first half. Powell recorded an and-one play that helped Wyoming take a 35-34 lead into the half.
Parker scored the first seven points for the Billikens in the opening minutes of the second half to give SLU a 41-40 lead. The Billikens would hold the Pokes scoreless for nearly four minutes with SLU taking a 44-40 lead. Wenzel added a pair of free throws for a 44-42 game with 15 minutes remaining.
Turnovers would haunt the Pokes and Saint Louis would take a 48-42 lead and would later push it to nine points at 51-42, as Wyoming went on a 0-of-10 stretch from the field. Griffin would add a three-pointer to cut the Wyoming deficit to six points at 53-47 with under 12 minutes left in the contest.
Wyoming went on a 5-0 run and made the Billiken lead three-points at 55-52. Powell paced the run with his third and-one play of the game. Saint Louis would push the lead back in their favor taking a nine-point lead making three straight shots for a 65-56 game with under seven minutes remaining.
Manyawu would get to the double-double and make it a 72-65 game with three minutes left. The Pokes would cut it to five points, but the Billikens pulled away and took the contest 79-69.
Saint Louis was led by Parker with 22 points and eight rebounds. Tim Dagler recorded 17 points and was 5-of-7 from the field.
The Cowboys will face off against College of Charleston tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. MT in a contest on ESPNU.