Coastal Carolina is one step closer to a CBI Championship after earning a 91-81 Game 1 win over Wyoming at the HTC Center.
The Sun Belt squad has been impressive this postseason, winning the first three games this tournament by an average margin of 12 points per game. The offense was dominant once again to take an early advantage in the best-of-three-game final.
Coastal Carolina used some quality balance to light up the scoreboard, finishing with six players in double figures in the win.
Jaylen Shaw didn't have his best shooting night at 6-of-15 but helped the team by filling up the stat sheet. He ended the game with 15 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and only one turnover.
Jason McManamen had a game-high 19 points for Wyoming before fouling out.
Alan Herndon also played a big role, especially on the defensive end with five blocks. His work in the post was key in helping the Cowboys stay competitive in the second half:
However, 15 turnovers and a 46-34 rebounding deficit helped contribute to the loss.
Brandon Foster of the Casper Star-Tribune discussed the meaning of the game:
On the plus side, the next two contests will be at Wyoming as the squad tries to bring home a CBI title.
Coastal Carolina took full advantage of the home court in the early going, taking a 18-6 lead in the first six minutes and continuing to build distance going into halftime.
This late three for Wyoming helped prevent the score from being double digits after the first half:
As it was, the Chanticleers were still up 44-35 through 20 minutes of game time.
The second half was more of the same with the home team consistently making shots to stay ahead. As Alan Blondin of the Sun News noted, it took a team effort to keep control:
Although Wyoming was able to cut the lead down to six a few times, a 9-2 run helped the Chanticleers pull away. They weren't flawless down the stretch, but they made enough free throws to hold on for the 10-point victory.
The teams will face off again in Game 2 Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET in Wyoming. If necessary, a third game will be played as a tiebreaker Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.
In order for there to be a third game, however, the Cowboys will have to play much better defense next time out.
Wyoming coach Allen Edwards was upset at his players after the game for not following the game plan.
"Like I told our guys, nothing that we did tonight we didn't talk about," he said, per Foster. "We've just got to do a better job of executing it."
He was especially upset at the 18 offensive rebounds allowed during the game.
The Cowboys will hope to learn from their mistakes the next time they face Coastal Carolina on Wednesday.