Wyoming head men’s basketball coach Allen Edwards is big on championship opportunities. Lucky for him, the Cowboys will play in a championship Wednesday for the third time in Edwards’ two seasons as head coach.
Wyoming held on for a 70-61 win over Louisiana on Tuesday to advance to the championship game of the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic in George Town, Grand Cayman. The Cowboys will face No. 12 Cincinnati at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Wednesday.
“Hats off to Louisiana,” Edwards said in a post-game interview. “I think they’re a tough, physical basketball team. And at the end of the day, we tried to use that against them. So we wanted our energy to go to another level, but at the same time, we wanted to hang our hat on the defensive end of the floor, feeling like our offense would be a little bit better than it was the first night out.”
Alexander Aka Gorski led Wyoming with 16 points off the bench, hitting 3-of-6 3-point attempts. Lou Adams scored 14 points off the bench, and Nyaires Redding (13) and Alan Herndon (10) were also in double figures.
Louisiana had averaged 96 points per game coming into the game, but the Ragin’ Cajuns shot 33.3 percent from the field and just 14.8 percent from 3-point range. Wyoming made 42.2 percent of its field goals and hit a third of its 3-pointers.
The Cowboys built a 51-35 lead at 13:44 of the second half on an Andrew Moemeka dunk, but didn’t make another field goal until 3:47 remained. Still, Wyoming led 61-45 at that point. The Ragin’ Cajuns went on a 16-5 run to get within five points but didn’t get any closer.
Wyoming was without Justin James for much of the game. The preseason all-conference junior had his nose bloodied going for a rebound. Wyoming leading scorer Hayden Dalton was limited to two points in 23 minutes of play. He did not appear injured.
“Just in the midst of war, one went down,” Edwards said. “I thought the troops rallied with each other and willed their way and found a way to continue to stay the course and come out of here with another win.”
The Cowboys (4-0) also played in a championship at last season’s regular-season Las Vegas Classic, which they lost to Southern California, and at the postseason College Basketball invitational, which they won in three games over Coastal Carolina.
Cincinnati beat Richmond 75-48 on Tuesday.