Midway through overtime, it appeared the Cowboys would finally be able to put last week's pair of league losses behind them.
Brandon Ewing's 3-pointer with 3:26 remaining gave Wyoming its biggest lead of the game at 62-56, and Air Force head coach Jeff Reynolds was forced to call timeout after watching his team go scoreless for nearly four straight minutes.
But the Cowboys' hopes of grabbing their first Mountain West Conference victory of the season came to a crashing halt Wednesday night in the form of an 8-0 run by the Falcons to end overtime—a surge which culminated in a game-winning layup by Eric Kenzik with 1.4 seconds remaining.
"We put ourselves in a position to win tonight, but we didn't make enough plays to get it done at the end," UW head coach Heath Schroyer said. "I give Air Force credit. They made a couple of plays in overtime when they needed to."
A couple of plays indeed. Anwar Johnson scored four straight points out of the Air Force timeout to cut the Pokes' lead to 62-60, and Tim Anderson's steal and layup with 1:23 remaining tied the score at 62. Finally, there was the game's last play, a broken exchange that saw Air Force's Andrew Henke slash through Wyoming's zone defense and find a wide-open Kenzik under the basket for the easy deuce.
"Really, all the credit needs to go to Drew (Henke) on that play," Kenzik said. "He made a great basketball play. He drove to the hoop. He's looking to get fouled, and my man helped.
"I was just in the right place at the right time."
The play marked the third time in the last two years that Air Force has beaten Wyoming with a last-second shot. It was the fifth time that Wyoming and Air Force have played an overtime game in the nine-year history of the MWC.
"This is a great rivalry," Falcons head coach Jeff Reynolds said, "and it seems like ever since I've been at Air Force every game has gone down close to the wire."
The Cowboys overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to tie the score at the end of regulation. Brandon Ewing hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Pokes within 39-35 with 17:27 remaining, and a 12-6 run near the end of the second half gave Wyoming its first lead of the period at 55-54. Johnson and Henke each went 1-of-2 from the line on two separate Air Force possessions to give the Falcons a one-point advantage, but Joseph Taylor converted the first of two free throws to tie the score at 56 and force overtime.
"I'm proud of the way our guys played," Schroyer said. "They put their heart and soul out there tonight.
"We played hard, and we fought back in the second half."
But the Cowboys wouldn't have had to fight back if they could have found a way to shut down the Falcons' 3-point shooting in the first half. Air Force hit four early 3-pointers to take a 12-6 lead with 14:51 to go in the first half. The Cowboys stormed back, scoring the next nine points to go up 15-12, but the Falcons continued to convert from long range. Henke's 3-pointer with 8:36 left in the period sparked a 24-13 run that featured four more 3-pointers, and Air Force led 36-28 at the break.
"We were just trying to execute our offense," said Tim Anderson, who led the Falcons with 19 points—including four 3-pointers—and three steals. "If we're disciplined and execute our offense, usually shots show up."
Ewing led all scorers in the game with 21 points, and Brad Jones added 16 points and six assists for the Cowboys, who fall to 6-9 on the season while remaining winless (0-3) in the MWC.
"There is a lot of basketball left in this season," Schroyer said. "We've lost two overtime games and could easily be 2-1 in the league right now, but we're not. We're close. We just have to keep working hard."
Oops, They did it Again
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