The Cowboys couldn’t overcome cold shooting in a 64-57 loss to UNLV on Wednesday evening in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Pokes rallied to take a second half lead, but Wyoming shot 34 percent from the field with the loss dropping the Pokes to 23-7 overall and 12-5 in the MW.
“We did a great job on a short turn around and we kept Bryce Hamilton in check but give UNLV credit they stepped up and hit shots,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We have to find a way to finish this thing right. We have to focus on the next game.”
Wyoming was led by Hunter Maldonado with 22 points. He also added seven assists and 10 rebounds for a double-double fpor his sixth of the season and 12th of his career. Maldonado passed Sean Dent for the single season Cowboy record for assists, as he now has 184. Graham Ike added 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Cowboys were 21-of-61 from the field in the contest and went 7-of-26 for 27 percent from behind the arc. The Runnin’ Rebels were held to 38 percent from the field but hit eight threes on the night. UNLV held a 44-36 advantage on the glass.
The Runnin’ Rebels gained the upper hand on the Cowboys with a 5-0 run for an 8-3 lead with 16:41 remaining in the first half. The Pokes responded with a pair of buckets from Ike that made it an 8-7 contest. But UNLV went on a 6-0 run to build a 16-9 lead with 11:40 left in the first half.
UNLV built an 18-10 advantage, but a three-pointer from Hunter Thompson made it a 18-13 contest with 7:04 left in the first frame. But the Runnin’ Rebels with a pair of technical foul free throws. Thompson made it a four-point game at 20-16, but UNLV answered with a triple at the 5:36 mark for a 23-17 contest with just under six minutes left in the frame.
Maldonado came back into the contest after missing time with a poked eye added a pair of baskets and two free throws to make it a one-point game for UNLV at 23-22 with just over four minutes left in the first stanza. The Pokes would go scoreless for over three minutes as the Runnin’ Rebels took a 30-25 lead, but Drake Jeffries added a four-point play to make it a one-point contest with 37 seconds remaining in the half and that was the score at the break.
UNLV opened the second frame on a 6-2 run to take a 36-31 lead in the opening three minutes of play. But Hunter Maldonado added an and-one play for a tie contest at 36-36 with 15:29 left in the game. He would later drive to the hop and give the Pokes a 38-36 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining.
The Pokes would take a 40-37 lead, but a 7-1 run by the Runnin’ Rebels made it a 44-41 game with just over 11 minutes left in the contest. The Pokes would pull within one point, but a triple from Donovan Williams pushed it back to four points at 51-47 with 8:19 remaining in the game.
Brendan Wenzel cut a six-point UNLV lead with a triple at the 6:48 mark for a 53-50 game. But the Rebels would push the lead to six points at 58-50 and held the Pokes scoreless for over four minutes, but Maldonado hit a triple to make it a 58-53 game with 2:21 left in the contest.
But the Pokes could not get any closer, as the Runnin’ Rebels would take the contest 64-57.
UNLV was led by Royce Hamm, Jr. with 17 points. Bryce Hamilton added 15 points and was held to 3-of-15 from the field.
Wyoming returns home and closes the regular season Saturday against Fresno State at 2 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.