Over 1 million readers this year!

UW Cowboys down Fresno State on dramatic buzzer beater

Akuel Kot's buzzer beater along the baseline helped lift the UW Cowboys to a 67-66 win over Fresno State in a game for the ages.

UW's Akuel Kot battles for a loose ball with several Fresno State players. Kot would go on to hit a game-winning buzzer beater. (via Wyoming Cowboy Basketball X)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Guard Akuel Kot hit his second buzzer beater of the season to lift the Cowboys past Fresno State by a score of 67–66 on Saturday afternoon.

Guard Brendan Wenzel led a Cowboy comeback in the second half with 14 points in the frame, as Wyoming trailed by 12 points for the third double-digit comeback this season. The Pokes move to 9–8 overall and 2–2 in conference play with the Bulldogs falling to 7–9 and 0–3 in the MW.

“I wish we’d make it a little easier and figure out how to play a little bit harder in the first half,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We’ve been talking about that ad nauseum, and I’m not sure what it quite is. We can’t be that lethargic in understanding what we want to do to them. In the first half, we had zero points in transition, and a team coming from sea level, coming to negative 30 degrees, you have to make them feel the altitude and for whatever reason we couldn’t get ourselves going enough to do that. In the second half, our defense switching to the zone got them out of rhythm.

“That allowed us to get some easy buckets in transition, and that got us going a bit. The biggest thing was Brendan Wenzel. He’s played really well on the defensive end of the floor, but he’s had a tough stretch shooting the ball. For him to see the ball go in and for him to make those plays gave us a chance to win.”

Wyoming shot 54.5% in the second half and outscored the Bulldogs 26–15 to close the game in the final 10 minutes of play. Wyoming also had double-digit comeback wins against San Jose State and Stephen F. Austin.

The Pokes were led by Wenzel, who recorded a season-high 17 points and went over 100 career threes in the game. He also led the team with eight rebounds. Sam Griffin added 16 points in the contest for his 15th game in double figures this season. Kot added 12 points with the game winner and has scored in double figures in 49 of the last 50 games.

The Cowboys shot 44.4% from the field and 52% in the second half for the 11th game this season shooting 50% or better in the second half. Wyoming shot 45% from behind the arc for the eighth game shooting 40% or better from three. Fresno State shot 45% from the field in the contest. Wyoming held a 39–31 advantage on the glass with 12 offensive rebounds.

After the Bulldogs opened the contest with a pair of buckets, Griffin went on a 5–0 run to give Wyoming a 5–4 advantage two and a half minutes into the game. Neither team would get a score for over two minutes, but Oleg Kojenets made it a 10–9 game at the free throw line with under 13 minutes left in the first half.

The Bulldogs would hold Wyoming scoreless for three minutes, using an 8–0 run for a 17–10 lead halfway through the half. Wyoming answered with a 5–0 run for a 17–15 game with 8:40 left in the first stanza, but an 8–0 run by Fresno State made it 25–15 game.

The Bulldogs would push the lead to as much as 11 points, but an and-one play from Brandan Wenzel made it a 30–23 game with under five minutes left in the half. Wyoming would make it a five-point contest but would trail at the half 35–28.

The Cowboys would battle to make it a 37–35 game with under 17 minutes left, holding Fresno State scoreless for over two minutes in opening minutes of the second half. Walters cut it to two points, but a pair of buckets and 3-pointer by Fresno State made it a 47–38 game with under 13 minutes left.

The Bulldogs would go on a 12–2 run over nearly four minutes, making it a 52–40 game halfway through the second half. Wyoming went on an 8–0 run led by a pair of triples from Wenzel for a 52–48 contest with 7:54 remaining. Powell capped a 10–0 run that was halted by a Fresno State three, creating a 55–50 game.

Wenzel would get to a season high with a 3-pointer for a two-point game once again after another bug three from Fresno State. Griffin added a triple to make it a 62–61 game for Fresno State with 3:56 left.

A Wenzel slam gave Wyoming a 63–62 lead and Kot added a triple for a 66–62 game with just over two minutes left. A 3-pointer by Fresno State made it a 66–65 game with 65 seconds left. Isaiah Hill added a bucket with seven seconds left to give Fresno State a 67–66 lead.

Related