On Friday, Trace Young was a redshirt on the Wyoming men’s basketball team. Saturday, the freshman hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining to lift the Cowboys to a 65-63 victory over Dixie State at the Arena-Auditorium.
Young, who tied Justin James for game-high scoring honors with 16 points, caught a pass from Hunter Thompson in front of the Wyoming bench and pump-faked before drilling his fourth triple of the game.
The Cowboys (4-9) trailed the Trailblazers 63-59 with 1 minute, 45 seconds to play, but Jordan Naughton made 1 of 2 free throws and James knocked down two from the line to make it a one-point game.
Dixie State had a chance to increase the margin, but Quincy Mathews missed two free throws with 12.7 seconds left to set the stage for Young’s heroics.
Only seven players saw the court for the undermanned Cowboys, who have been hit hard by injuries throughout the non-conference season.
James was held below his Mountain West-leading 22.9 points per game, but had eight rebounds and four assists to go along with his 16 points. Fellow senior Naughton, who was playing in just his second game of the season, made 8 of 11 free throws and added 12 points.
Wyoming scored the first nine points of the second half to break a 30-all tie. Hunter Thompson (Pine Bluffs) got things started with a 3-pointer and James added a 15-foot jumper. Young made it 37-30 with a steal and a breakaway dunk and A.J. Banks capped the run with an acrobatic reverse layup.
The 6-foot-9, 180-pound Young played 31 minutes in his Cowboys debut, shooting 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 7 from behind the arc, and grabbed six rebounds.
Wade Miller led Dixie State (4-6) with six 3s and a game-high 18 points. Matt Conway, who was averaging a team-best 15.7 points per game, scored just two points before fouling out.
Wyoming returns to the court Wednesday when it opens Mountain West play at home against Fresno State.