Wyoming will be one of just four teams in the country to end their season with a tournament win, as the Cowboys finished off the CBI Finals with a convincing 83-59 victory.
Despite dropping the the first game of the best-of-three series, the Cowboys defended home court, winning two straight in three days to claim their first CBI Championship.
While on Wednesday it took the Cowboys 20 minutes to get their feet under them, they wasted no time in putting their boots on Costal Carolina’s neck. Wyoming trailed for a grand total of zero minutes and zero seconds on Friday.
A 15-0 Cowboys run at about the halfway point in the first half was the inflection point of the night. Facing a huge deficit on the road at altitude with a thinner bench than normal, Coastal Carolina just didn’t have a comeback in them.
Wyoming’s dedication to the three ball was impressive. Hayden Dalton was unquestionably the MVP. He hit a career-high five threes on his way to a 19-point, 11-rebound performance and his presence on the court completely ruined the Chanticleers’ defense.
Wyoming could go five-out and force the Coastal Carolina bigs to run around to try and chase them off the line. Wyoming imposed their will on the offensive end behind a barrage of threes. More than half of the Cowboys’ field goals came from behind the arc, and they shot 35 percent from three. That was the story.
For Coastal Carolina, there wasn’t a lot to be excited about. Playing with a shorter bench due to injuries, the Chanticleers wilted in the thin air of Laramie. Demario Beck did all he could, finishing with 17 points and seven boards, but his teammates just didn’t give him enough help to come away with a win.
Wyoming emerges from the postseason with a nice feather to stick in their cap and a decent platform to make a run next season. Only one Cowboy who played serious minutes this year, Jason McManamen, is a senior. With just about every major piece coming back, Wyoming could be a Mountain West team to keep your eye on in 2018.
Last year’s CBI winner, Nevada, did turn around and make the Big Dance this season, and 2010 winner, Oregon, kicked off its rise with a CBI title. Even though the tournament has lost some luster with power conference teams blackballing the event, this year’s tournament provided some moments of excitement and, maybe, a springboard for future success.