The Wyoming Cowboys forced a third and deciding game in the CBI Championship series with an 81-57 rout of Coastal Carolina in Laramie Wednesday night.

The final game will be at 5 p.m. Friday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Wyoming (22-15) utilized a big second half to pull away for the victory. They out-scored Coastal Carolina 48-30.

The Pokes opened the second half with back-to-back three-point plays by Jason McManamen and Justin James on drives to the basket. That put UW ahead 39-27. The Chanticleers got back within 39-31, but that’s as close as they would get. A McManamen lay-up and a dunk by Jordan Naughton pushed it to double figures, and the Cowboys rolled from there.

The players said it had to do with their defense.

James scored 21 points and Alexander Aka Gorski added 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. He was 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Wyoming shot 45.5 percent from the field. They were 12-31, 39 percent, from deep. UW was 19-of-24, 79 percent, at the line. They also had an advantage in rebounding, 45-36.

Coastal Carolina (20-18) was held to 31 percent shooting for the game. They were only 21-of-67 from the field and 5-19, 19 percent, beyond the arc. Elijah Wilson and Artur Labinowicz scored 10 points apiece to lead the Chanticleers.

Edwards said there was a different mentality with the team in this one. They took advantage of the altitude, and he also applauded the crowd.

The Cowboys jumped to a quick 9-2 lead and then held a 14-6 edge before a few dry spells and turnovers plagued them. CCU took advantage of 10 first half turnovers by UW and hung around. Wyoming got separation on a Gorski three with 1:09 left in the half for a 30-22 lead. Five points by the Chants, including a three by Wilson pulled them within 31-27. James sank a turnaround baseline jumper just before the buzzer that put the Pokes up 33-27 at half.

The season will come to an end Friday night with the conclusion of the CBI Championships series. Game three is at 5 p.m. You can listen on FM 95.1 or a local Cowboy Sports Network affiliated radio station. The game is also being televised by ESPNU.

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