When Wyoming Cowboys guard Josh Adams shot a game-tying layup to finish an 11-0 run with 13:37 left in regulation Wednesday night, the crowd at the Save Mart Center went silent.
At that time, the Fresno State men’s basketball team was in danger of losing six games in a row.
But led by senior guard Tyler Johnson’s 20 points, the Bulldogs held off the Cowboys 67-62 and got their second Mountain West victory of the season. Fresno State is now 9-0 all-time at home against Wyoming.
The last two Fresno State games resulted in overtime defeats, and the ‘Dogs used them as a learning experience.
“I think the last two [overtime] games really helped us down the stretch in this game in understanding what plays we need to make and making the winning play at the end of the game,” Johnson said.
Johnson has now recorded 20 points or more in six out of the last eight games. His eight rebounds and four assists were both team-highs.
Sophomore guard Marvelle Harris was another Bulldog in double figures as he banked in four out of eight shots for 11 points in his 39 minutes played.
Freshman forward Paul Watson was third on the team with nine points.
Leading the fourth place Cowboys was junior forward Larry Nance Jr. who is coming off a double-double against Nevada. Nance shot 3 of 7 in the first half for eight points and finished 8 of 15 for 20.
The ‘Dogs had a solid defensive performance in the first half as they contested various shots and made the Cowboys work for every single basket. Wyoming only managed to score 26 points in that span, while the ‘Dogs went into the locker room with 33, a 7-point lead.
Leading Fresno State on the defensive side was junior Alex Davis, whose task was to guard Nance. Davis ended with five rebounds, three blocks, and two steals.
“He had a tough assignment,” said Bulldogs coach Rodney Terry. “Nance has played terrific up to this point in league play, and I thought Alex did a great job setting the tone defensively in the paint early on in the game.”
After Adams’ layup, the squads exchanged leads within the next few minutes until Fresno State was finally able to get the lead for good. Wyoming got within one point at times, but the ‘Dogs answered back with a big play every time.
“We’ve been there, and we’ve seen that song and dance quite a bit in terms of having the lead and losing the lead,” Terry said. “And, again, our guys battled back. I give our guys a lot of credit for digging down deep and not panicking,” Terry said.