Justin James scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Wyoming Cowboys to a 73-64 victory over South Carolina Wednesday night in Laramie.

Wyoming (3-6) used a 14-0 run in the second half to take the lead for good. They built it to 12 points, at 56-44, before the Gamecocks made a push. They cut it to 58-51 with 9:14 left on an A.J. Lawson three. UW responded with five straight and got it back to a dozen at 63-51.

South Carolina (4-4) cut it back to six, at 63-57, with 3:54 left, but it’s as close as they got.

Jake Hendricks fifth three-pointer of the game with 2:05 left pushed it back to nine, at 66-57, and the Cowboys knocked down free throws in the last 90 seconds and closed out their victory.

Hendricks scored 16, while TJ Taylor added 11 off the bench. For Justin James, this was his fourth double-double of the season. He added five assists and a steal.

The players talked about the fight to win and a good defensive effort.

The Cowboys shot 44 percent from the field. They were 10-20 from beyond the arc and 21-28 (75%) at the foul line. Wyoming was out-rebounded by 12 but forced 16 Gamecock turnovers that resulted in 15 points. This was the fewest points allowed by UW in a game this season.

Head coach Allen Edwards knew it was a big win for his team.

South Carolina was led by Lawson with 15 points. Chris Silva added 11. The Gamecocks shot only 34 percent, which included 30 percent in the second half. South Carolina was 3-20 from deep, just 15 percent. They did have a 43-31 edge on the glass but were held to just eight second-chance points.

Head coach Frank Martin felt his team missed too many opportunities inside, and then had some critical comments of Wyoming fans.

The Gamecocks came out and led by as many as nine points in the first half, at 15-6. James got in foul trouble early and played only 11 minutes in the first half. Wyoming hung around thanks to five triples by four different players. They held South Carolina to 37 percent shooting, but UW trailed 37-33 at halftime.

This is the first victory for the Cowboys over an SEC team since they beat the Gamecocks in Laramie back in 2002.

Wyoming is even more short-handed after sophomore Austin Mueller was lost for the season Tuesday with a torn ACL in his right knee suffered at practice.

The Pokes are off for six days and will return to the court next Tuesday versus Denver. The game is at 7 p.m. in Laramie.

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