Saturday, April 01, 2017
Wyoming: 2017 College Basketball Invitational Champions
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Hayden Dalton scored 19 points with 11 rebounds and Justin James added 17 points to carry Wyoming to an 83-59 win over Coastal Carolina to claim the CBI championship on Friday.
Dalton sank 5 of 9 from long range in notching his 12th double-double of the season. Wyoming (23-15) won the last two games -- at home -- by 24 points each in the best-of-three College Basketball Invitational finals series after dropping the opener by 10 on the road.
It was Wyoming's first major postseason title since winning the 1943 NCAA championship.
Coastal Carolina (20-19) was led by Demario Beck with 17 points, while Jaylen Shaw had 10.
Dalton, who was scoring 12.1 per game, had only 27 combined in the previous four games in the CBI but tallied his highest total since garnering 21 against Fresno State on Feb. 8.
"I took the same shots last game and they were falling this game," he said. "My teammates had confidence in me. They just said, `Keep shooting."
Wyoming was outshot and outrebounded in the first game, a 91-81 loss, but turned the tables in both categories at home and also reduced its turnovers to seven after 15 giveaways in each of the first two contests.
"Taking care of the ball, rebounding and guarding. That's what we did for these last two games," James said.
Bringing a national championship to Laramie for the first time in 74 years is special, he said.
"Feels amazing," James said. "Not a lot of people get to end their season off with a win. For us to do that is amazing." And with all but two seniors returning next year? "We'll be ready to play, just know that."
One senior, Jason McManamen, finished with two more 3s to put his school record at 210. His 1,034 career points is fourth-most for a Wyoming product.
Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said the difference in elevation was a factor: Laramie is 7,220 feet above sea level. Coastal Carolina's home in Conway, S.C. is 33 feet. With that in mind, he pushed the tempo.
"We wanted to fatigue them a little bit," he said. "And throughout the game you saw Coach (Cliff) Ellis take a few timeouts just to give his guys some rest."
Ellis was without injured starter Colton Ray-St Cyr for the second straight game. Shivaughn Wiggins, the point guard all season, played for the first time in three weeks but was ineffective. Beck and Shaw had nagging injuries as well.
"We didn't shoot the ball well. We weren't patient enough," Ellis said. "(Wyoming) played extremely well. This is a tough out, here. We had some injuries. We're not going to use that as an excuse. Their 3-point shooting is just immaculate. "
Wyoming shot 35 percent from the arc (13 of 37) while Coastal Carolina sank only 19 percent (4 of 21).
The Chanticleers, who never led, closed within 44-34 after a 3-pointer by Joseph Williams-Powell from the top of the key with 15:37 to play. But James' layup and a trey by Dalton ignited an 18-7 roll that left the Cowboys ahead 62-41.
The Chanticleers never got closer than 18 after that, and the lead eventually reached 81-51 late.
Wyoming closed the first half on a 22-4 surge as Dalton hit a trio of 3s, snared five rebounds and dished out an assist during the run, which left the Cowboys up 42-23.
A flagrant 1 foul by Williams-Powell on Wyoming's Louis Adams seemed to spark the Cowboys. It came moments after Williams-Powell's jumper drew the Chanticleers within 20-19.
Coastal Carolina will lose four seniors.