Jason McManamen scored his 1000th career point on a drive to the basket that carried Wyoming past Utah Valley in the CBI semifinals, 74-68, Wednesday night in Laramie.

McManamen drove the right baseline, powered through two defenders for a lay-up and was fouled with 44.7 seconds left. It proved to be the winning-basket that put UW in front 71-68. He missed the ensuing free throw, but the Cowboys got a big defensive stop and closed out the win with three free throws in the final 10 seconds.

Wyoming (21-14) has now advanced to the CBI’s best of 3 championship series that starts Monday. The Cowboys will play at Coastal Carolina Monday night. Then, they will return home next Wednesday, March 29. The third, if necessary, game in the title series would also be played at the AA in Laramie next Friday, March 31.

Justin James led three Wyoming players in double figures with 16 points, but he fouled out with 1:39 left. McManamen and Louis Adams added 12 points apiece.

The Pokes shot 46.4 percent from the field and won despite 3-15 (20%) from three-point range. They capitalized with 21 points off 14 Utah Valley turnovers. UW also went 19-27 at the foul line.

The Wolverines were held to 36.7 percent from the field. They were led by Conner Toolson and Isaac Neilson with 15 points apiece. Utah Valley shot 6-22, 27 percent, from deep. They did out-rebound the Cowboys 42-32. Utah Valley finished their season 17-17.

Wyoming got off to another quick start with an early 11-2 lead. Utah Valley closed the gap with a 9-2 run. The Cowboys lead reached 10, at 23-13, after eight straight points midway through the opening half. The Wolverines battled back and eventually tied the game on a Toolson basket at the 2:52 mark. The last six of the half belonged to UW for a 39-33 lead at the break.

The second half stayed closed, within 2-6 points, until the Pokes rattled off an 11-3 run. That was capped by Hayden Dalton’s dunk and lay-up on back-to-back possessions. Utah Valley came right back with three 3’s. They tied it at 65 on free throws and then the two teams exchanged the lead twice and were tied with a series of free throws. James made one-of-two at the 2:06 mark for a 69-68 lead.

Next up is the CBI championship series. Wyoming plays in Conway, SC Monday night before returning to the Arena-Auditorium next Wednesday. All three games in the series will be televised on ESPNU.

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