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UW vs Richmond

Wyoming's Justin James dunks during the Cowboys' game against Richmond in the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Nov. 21 in Fort Myers, Fla.

Wyoming had no answer for Grant Golden.

Yet Richmond didn't have one for Justin James when it mattered most.

James scored a season-high 29 points, including the go-ahead basket with 31 seconds left, as Wyoming rallied for a 68-66 win Wednesday in the consolation game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off at Suncoast Arena in Fort Myers, Florida. The Cowboys trailed 66-61 with 2:41 left but finished on a 7-0 run to snap their two-game losing streak.

James scored the last five points, tying the game with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:06 remaining. James took the ball down the right side of the lane on the Cowboys' next possession and sank a floater that proved to be the game-winner.

Richmond had one last shot at the win after Hunter Maldonado missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Nick Sherod's desperation 3 came up short.

"I thought Justin James was great in a sense of bringing us home down the home stretch," Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said on postgame radio. "I know we've been banged up a little bit, but I think the morale has been great."

Maldonado returned from the back spasms that held him out of Wyoming's loss to Boston College two days earlier and added 15 points and eight rebounds in 35 minutes, helping the Cowboys withstand Richmond's inside-out combination of Golden and Jake Wojcik.

"I didn't know how much I was going to be able to play him today," Edwards said. "I just asked him right before the game, 'How do you feel?' He said, 'Good.' I put him out there, and he wasn't out there too long before I subbed him the first time. But I just wanted to see how he would look and he would react, and I thought he looked good. So we kind of went with him."

The Spiders pounded the ball in to Golden, who feasted on Wyoming's lack of size on the interior. The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder went 16 of 24 from the field to finish with a career-high 33 points, easily surpassing his previous career-high of 26 set last season.

Wojcik took advantage of a Wyoming defense collapsing on Golden, going 5 of 9 from 3-point range for 15 points. One of those 3s gave the Spiders their largest lead at 48-37 with 13:56 left.

Going primarily to man defense after spending most of the first half in zone, Wyoming stormed back with a 15-2 run over the next 2:59 to take its first lead of the second half on a jumper from James, who scored 19 of his points after halftime, to set up the back-and-forth finish. Richmond shot 47 percent from the field (27 of 58) while Wyoming shot it at a 46-percent clip (25 of 55).

Jake Hendricks added 10 points and six rebounds, combining with Maldonado, James (5) and forward Austin Mueller (4) to help the Cowboys match Richmond's 33 rebounds.

"I felt like they were carving up the zone a little bit," Edwards said. "Because of their backcuts and all of that stuff and then us being undersized, we just said, 'You know what? Let's go man and let our guys fight.' I thought they did a great job fighting."

Golden asserted his dominance in the paint early, hitting on nine of his first 12 shots from the field. He scored 19 points and grabbed three of his nine rebounds in the first half.

Wyoming got 10 first-half points from James, but nobody else scored more than six for the Cowboys. Wyoming shot just 43 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and missed on five of its first seven 3s.

Those two factors helped Richmond keep its distance in the first half with the Spiders taking their first double-digit lead on Sherod's old-fashioned three-point play with 48 seconds left. Richmond led 37-29 at the break before the Cowboys made their comeback, limiting Golden to just one basket over the final 6:47 as Wyoming held Richmond to three field goals during that span.

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Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter


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