Illinois State led by as many as 19 points in the first half, but a second-half comeback by Wyoming gave the Cowboys (9-0) an 81-67 road victory over the Redbirds (5-3) Tuesday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Tyler Brown finished the first half with 17 points, on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and a 5-for-7 showing from three-point range, but was held to just five points in the second half as he finished with a game-high 22-points. Jon Ekey added in 13 points, thanks to a 5-for-7 effort from the field and a 3-for-4 mark from beyond the arch, and John Wilkins scored a season-best 12 points to round out the scoring for the Redbirds. All five Wyoming starters finished in double figures, with Larry Nance, Jr., leading the way with a career-best 19 points.
The two teams traded baskets to open the game, before Brown nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Redbirds a 7-4 advantage early. The Cowboys responded with a 6-1 run to take at 10-8, before the Redbirds went on a 6-0 run of their own capped off on a jumper by Johnny Hill to regain the lead at 14-10 with 11:17 left in the first half.
After Wyoming cut the lead back to two points, Brown threw down an alley-oop dunk to give ISU a four-point advantage once again at 16-12. A layup by Jordan Threloff made the score 18-14 soon after, before Derrious Gilmore nailed a three pointer and Nance made a hook shot in the lane to give the Cowboys the lead back at 19-18. The Wyoming lead was short-lived, as Brown nailed his second three-pointer of the game 17 seconds later to put ISU back up 21-19 with 8:04 left on the clock.
With the game tied at 21-21, a tip-in by Wilkins gave ISU a two-point advantage at 23-21, before Brown hit his third trey of the first half to extend the lead to five points. As the ball was in the air, Jackie Carmichael was fouled and the Redbirds got the ball back. ISU took advantage of the mistake and Nick Zeisloft hit a three-pointer to give the Redbirds an eight point lead.
Nance put a stop to the quick run with a three-point play of his own, but Ekey answered with back-to-back three-pointers from the corner and Brown nailed back-to-back treys to cap off a 12-0 run and blow the game open at 41-24 with just under four minutes left in the half. Wyoming put an end to the run, thanks to a three-pointer from Luke Martinez and a dunk by Leonard Washington, to make the halftime score 43-29 in favor of the Redbirds.
ISU continued its hot shooting and opened the second half on a 7-2 run, after layups from Bryant Allen and Brown and a three-pointer by Ekey from the top of the key, to grow the lead to the largest of the game for the Redbirds at 50-31. Wyoming fought back with seven quick points on a pair of dunks by Nance and a three-pointer by Martinez to cut the lead to 50-38 with 15:08 left in the game. After trading baskets, Wilkins hit back-to-back three-pointers to widen the lead back out to 16 points at 58-42 just two minutes later.
The Cowboys rallied back with a 6-0 run to cut the lead down to single digits at 60-51, which caused ISU head coach Dan Muller to call a timeout. Wyoming continued the streak and ran it to 14-0, after a three-pointer and layup by Martinez and a trey by Gilmore cut the lead to just one point at 60-59 with 8:27 left in the game.
Hill scored on a three-point play in the lane to end a four-minute plus scoring drought and give the Redbirds a four-point lead at 63-59, but a layup by Nance and a jumper by Washington knotted the game at 63-63 with 6:13 remaining on the clock. The teams traded free throws over the next two minutes, before Wyoming took its first lead since the 8:21 mark of the first half when Gilmore hit a pair of free throws to put the Cowboys up 67-66 with 4:22 left.
The run would grow to 14-1, giving Wyoming a 77-67 lead with 1:35 remaining in the game. The Cowboys would hold onto that lead to complete the comeback road victory. The Redbirds will return to action Saturday, Dec. 8, when they welcome Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan to Redbird Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
article courtesy ISU Sports Information