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UW and Basketball Coach Jeff Linder Agree to Contract Extension Through 2027

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University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced Wednesday the finalization of a contract extension with head men’s basketball coach Jeff Linder through April of 2027.

“I’m excited to be able to continue building this program for this great fan base, this great university and this great state,” Linder said.  “With these exceptional young men, incredible staff and all the special people involved we will continue to make history. Go Pokes!”

Terms of the five-year deal include annual guaranteed compensation (e.g., base salary, additional compensation, etc.)  of over $700,000 beginning on July 1, 2022.  Additional compensation is highly likely to be earned annually via incentives for academic and athletic performance goals.

“We are thrilled to be able to get a contract done that works for Coach Linder and UW,” Burman said. “He has done a great job transforming Cowboy basketball over the past two years.  We believe Cowboy basketball is in great hands and we can’t wait for next November. We also want to congratulate the basketball staff who have done a great job in this process.”

Linder recently finished his second season as head coach of the Cowboys leading Wyoming to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014-15. He became the first coach since Everett Shelton to take a Cowboy team to the NCAA Tournament in his second season.

The Pokes were also ranked in the top-25 for the first time since the 2014-15 season and earned their highest ranking since the 1988 season, as Wyoming ranked No. 22 in the nation.

Linder was named to the Werner Naismith Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List. He was one of 15 coaches named to the prestigious list and the only coach from the Mountain West Conference. The Pokes won 24 games during the regular season in a regular season since 1951-52.

Available for NEW season ticket holders (existing season ticket holders do not need to do a deposit) $25 deposit for 25 wins in 21-22. New season ticket holders can make a deposit to pick from the best available seats prior season tickets going on sale to general public.

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Wyoming Cowboys Make NCAA Tournament As 12th-Seed; Face Indiana in First Four on Tuesday

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The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team was tabbed a 12th-seed in the East Region during Sunday’s NCAA Championships Selection Show and will face Indiana on Tuesday in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.

Wyoming is 25-8 on the season and recorded 24 wins during the regular season for the most since the 1951-52 season. 

The Pokes will be dancing for the first time since 2015 and 16th time in program history. 

It marks the first time since the 2002 season that the Pokes have earned an at-large bid.

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Wyoming Cowboys Rally Late to Defeat UNLV in Quarterfinals

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Xavier DuSell drilled a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to give the Wyoming Cowboys a 57-56 lead, which was then followed by a defensive stop and a pair of Brendan Wenzel free throws with three seconds to go as the Cowboys escaped with a 59-56 Mountain West Tournament quarterfinal victory over UNLV Thursday afternoon.

The Cowboys scored the game’s final seven points to claim victory. It marked the first time UW has won in the Thomas & Mack Center against UNLV since 2003.

“I mean, we wouldn’t expect anything different,” head coach Jeff Linder said. “That’s the way the season’s gone for us. I mean, we’ve been in more close games than probably any team in the country. And that’s how this conference has been from top to bottom.”

UNLV opened the scoring on their first possession, but the Pokes answered with a 5-0 run over three plus minutes for a 5-2 game four minutes into the contest. The Runnin’ Rebels hit a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, but Maldonado added a pair of buckets and slam from Jeremiah Oden to make it a 11-4 game with 13:58 left in the first half.

The Pokes held UNLV without a field goal nearly 12-minute to take a 18-6 lead with under eight minutes left in the first frame. Wenzel spearheaded the Cowboy run with five points coming on free throws and a triple.

“I thought our guys tonight, you know, as much as sometimes people want to talk about us offensively, me offensively, we know at the end of the day it’s our defense that gives us a chance to win a championship,” Linder said. “And I thought our guys did a really good job of understanding the game plan.”

UNLV would battle back and make it a nine-point contest at 22-13 near the five-minute mark of the half and a three-pointer from Royce Hamm made it a 22-16 game at the 3:27 mark. But Drake Jeffries responded with a triple to push it back to a nine-point lead and Noah Reynolds made it a 27-16 game with under two minutes left in the half.

The Runnin’ Rebels would threaten the lead, but Reynolds would help lead the Pokes to a 31-22 lead at the half. Wyoming shot 41 percent from the field and held UNLV to 29.6 percent.

UNLV would make it a five-point game at 31-26 in the opening ninety seconds of the first half. Maldonado pushed the lead to seven at 33-26, but Bryce Hamilton added an and-oine play for a 33-29 game with 16:47 remaining in the contest.

The Cowboys would go on a 5-0 run to push the lead back to nine points 38-29 with under 15 minutes remaining. But Hamilton added another and-one play for a four-point game at 38-34 at the 13:21 mark. Donovan Williams added a triple seconds later for a one-point contest.

Williams gave the Runnin’ Rebels the lead with a pair of free throws for a 39-38 game. But Ike added a bucket for a 40-39 game with just a few ticks under 11 minutes left in the game. After Ike made it a three-point game, The Runnin’ Rebels went on a 6-0 run for a 45-42 lead with 8:37 left in the game.

The Pokes would battle back and tie the game at 49-49 on a Brendan Wenzel three ball with 5:22 left in the game. Jeffries hit a three as well and gave Wyoming a 52-51 lead with just under five minutes left. A free throw by UNLV made it a tie game with 3:50 remaining.

Williams would hit back-back buckets to give UNLV a 56-52 lead with 2:11 remaining. DuSell made it a two-point game with free throws with 1:47 remaining, which began UW’s late run.

UNLV was led by a pair of Runnin’ Rebels that scored 20 or more as Bryce Hamilton scored a game-high 22 while Donovan Williams had 20. For the game, UNLV shot 35-percent from the floor and went 3-of-21 from 3-point range. The Cowboys shot 36.5-percent for the game and went 6-for-21 from beyond-the-arc.

A trio of Cowboys led the way in double figures as Wenzel paced UW with 12 points and tied a career-high with seven rebounds. Maldonado and Ike had 11 points each, while Ike recorded his 14th double-double of the season as he pulled down a game-high 13 boards. Maldonado added a game-best five assists in the win and surpassed Sean Dent for the most career assists in program history with 503. DuSell and Jeffries chipped in with eight points each.

Wyoming (25-7) moves on to face regular season champion Boise State in the tournament semifinals in a 7:30 p.m., MT tip-off on the CBS Sports Network.

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Cowboys Face UNLV in Quarterfinals of Mountain West Championship

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The Cowboys head to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in the Quarterfinals of the 2022 Mountain West Championship. The Cowboys are the fourth seed in the tournament with the Runnin’ Rebels as the fifth seed. The contest played at the Thomas & Mack Center is set for a 3:30 p.m. MT start on Thursday on CBS Sports Network.

Fans can listen to the contest, as well as follow stats on GoWyo.com. The contest will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Reece Monaco will have the call with Kevin McKinney on color.

About The Teams

The Pokes head into the tournament with a 24-7 overall record and finished 13-5 in conference play. It is the most regular season wins since having 25 during the 1951-52 season. The 13 wins in conference are also the most in the MW era of Cowboy basketball.

The Pokes led the conference and ranked No. 39 in the nation recording 450 made free throws. Wyoming held opponents to 41.5 percent from the field to rank fourth in the MW this season.  The Cowboys shot 46.2 percent from the field to rank third in the conference. Wyoming recorded 10.7 turnovers per game to rank second in the conference and No. 36 in the nation.

The Rebels closed the regular season strong, winning four of their final six games. UNLV resides in the middle of the league in both scoring (70.3 points per game) and points allowed (65.8 points per contest).

The Rebels connect on 42.7 percent of their field-goal attempts, which ranks second worst in the league, however, they hold foes to 41.1 percent shooting and that’s third-best in the conference. UNLV hits on 34.1 percent of its 3-point attempts and holds opponents to 31.5 percent shooting from deep.

About The Players

Wyoming is led by scoring this season by Graham Ike at 19.9 per game to rank second in the league and No. 21 in the nation. He also leads the team in rebounds at 9.6 per game for second in the MW and No. 20 in the nation.

He is one of three players in the nation to average over 199 points per game and nine or more rebounds. Hunter Maldonado adds 18.7 points per game to rank fifth in the MW. He ranks second in the conference and ranks fifth in the nation with 6.4 assists per game.

He recorded a triple-double against SDSU for the first one by a Cowboy since 2006 and became the single season assists leader with 192. Drake Jeffries adds 10.4 points per night and ranks No. 22 in the nation shooting 42 percent from behind the arc.

The Rebels are led by Bryce Hamilton who pours in a Mountain West Conference-best 31.8 points per game, which also ranks sixth nationally. Hamilton adds 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest.

Donovan Williams represents the only other Rebel who averages double figures, as he chips in 12.4 points per game. Royce Hamm Jr. leads UNLV, grabbing 9.3 rebounds per contest, which ranks third in the MWC, while Jordan McCabe dishes out a team-best 4.9 assists per game.

About The Series

UNLV has dominated the all-time series, 42-19, in a series that dates back to 1966. The Rebels have won seven of the last 10 meetings and that includes a 64-57 victory on March 2 of this season.

Up Next

If Wyoming wins, the Cowboys will play the winner of a game between top-seeded Boise State and No. 8-seeded Nevada/No. 9-seeded New Mexico. 

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Wyoming Cowboys Hold Back Bulldogs to Earn 68-64 Overtime Win

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The Cowboys closed the regular season with a thrilling 68-64 overtime win over Fresno State in the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Hunter Maldonado sent the game to overtime with a pair of free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulations and the senior added five points in overtime to improve the Cowboys to 24-7 overall and 13-5 in the Mountain West.

The 24 regular season wins is the most in regular season since 25 during 1951-52 season.

“Our guys knew this was a must win game,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We needed this win to put ourselves in the best position possible moving toward Vegas and the Mountain West Tournament.

“To win the way we did today, hopefully allowed us to get some of our mojo back and get our energy back. This was a great game for our seniors, Hunter Thompson especially, to see the Wyoming native step in when Graham (Ike) fouled out and make the huge winning play in overtime, drawing that charge — I am so happy for him.”

The Pokes went on 7-0 run in overtime in which Jeremiah Oden hit a three pointer and Maldonado added a pair of buckets to lift the Pokes to the win. Fellow senior Hunter Thompson took a charge and senior Drake Jeffries made it a four-point game, as the trio was honored before the contest.

Xavier DuSell led the Pokes with 21 points on the night knocking down five three pointers. Graham Ike added 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Jeremiah Oden scored 14 points and hit a career-high four three pointers. Maldonado added 10 points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. He is four assists away from passing Sean Dent for the all-time assists lead at Wyoming.

The Pokes scored 20 points off turnovers in the contest tying a season high. Wyoming shot 39 percent from the field but hit 11 three pointers in the contest with eight in the first half. Fresno State shot 48 percent from the field and held a 33-32 advantage on the glass.

After DuSell opened the scoring with a three-pointer, Fresno State went on a 5-0 run to take a 5-3 lead ninety seconds into the contest. But DuSell added two more threes and gave Wyoming a 9-7 lead at the 17:05 mark. But the Bulldogs responded with another 8-0 run to take a 15-11 lead three minutes later.

The Bulldogs added a slam for a 19-14 lead at the 11:30 mark, as Fresno State hit 5-of-7 field goals. The Pokes added free throws from DuSell and a jumper from Ike to make it a 19-18 game for the Bulldogs halfway through the half.

A triple from DuSell and jumper from Ike gave Wyoming a 23-21 lead with 8:01 remaining in first frame. After another DuSell triple, both teams went scoreless for three minutes until Oden added a three for a 29-23 game with four minutes left in the half.

Oden pushed the lead to nine points but added a triple and dunk from Orlando Robinson of Fresno State made it a 32-28 game for the Pokes at the half. The Pokes were held to only two points in the paint but were 8-of-16 from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs opened the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 33-32 lead, but Ike added a layup and a pair of free throws to make it a 36-33 game with 16:24 remaining. Ike and DuSell added buckets with a triple from Drake Jeffries and Wyoming held Fresno State scoreless for nearly four minutes making it a 43-33 contest with 13 minutes left.

The Pokes would go scoreless for over four minutes, as the Bulldogs would take the lead down to five points at 43-38 with nine minutes left in the contest. But Ike added a bucket and Oden added a triple as the shot clock expired for a 48-38 lead for the Pokes with 7:04 left in the game.

The Poke run was answered with a 5-0 run that was ended with an Oden highlight reel slam for a 50-43 contest with just over five minutes to play. The Bulldogs cut the lead to two points at 50-48 with 3:16 left, as Wyoming went scoreless for two and a half minutes. Ike added two freebies to push the lead back to four with 2:58 left.

Isaiah Hill add a bucket and Robinson added free throws after being fouled to tie the contest at 52-52 with 1:57 remaining. Maldonado added an and-one play for a 55-52 game with 1:35 left. Robinson added free throws seconds later to make it a one-point game at 55-54.

Maldonado would miss a pair of free throws and Robinson would add a bucket to make it a 56-55 game for Fresno State with 37 remaining. The Pokes had an open look from three but missed with Fresno State getting the ball and hitting a free throw for a 57-55 game with six seconds left. Maldonado raced down the floor and was fouled hitting both free throws with 0.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Missed free throws was the story of the first two plus minutes of overtime, but the Pokes earned a 58-57 advantage on a Maldonado freebie. But Robinson gave the Bulldogs the lead until a triple from Oden made it a 61-59 game for the Pokes with 1:49 left in overtime. Maldonado added a bucket for a 63-59 contest with one minute left.

Maldonado made it a six-point game with a layup, but Robinson hit a three pointer for a 65-62 game with 17 seconds remaining. Jeffries would hit a free throw, but Hill raced down the floor and made a basket for a 66-64 game with seven seconds remaining,

DuSell hit a pair of free throws and the Pokes would go on to win the contest 68-64.

The Bulldogs were led by Robinson added 34 points and nine rebounds. Anthony Holland added 11 points in the contest.

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Cowboys’ Cold Shooting Too Much To Overcome In 64-57 Loss At UNLV

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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.

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Cowboy Comeback Falls Short in 73-66 Loss to San Diego State

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The Cowboys nearly erased a 11-point deficit but fell just short in a 73-66 loss to San Diego State on Monday evening in the Arena-Auditorium. It marked the first home loss for the Pokes since Feb. 6, 2021. Hunter Maldonado recorded a triple double in the contest for the first by a Cowboy since Justin Williams against Utah on March 10, 2006.

“Give them (San Diego State) credit for coming out and making those shots in the first half,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We were probably a half step behind or a little timid in the first half. We knew this team would come at us. That is a team that has been through a lot of battles and has a lot of experience. Give them credit too for making some tough shots. (Matt) Bradley made some shots out by the logo.”

Maldonado recorded 13 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Graham Ike also added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jeremiah Oden led the Pokes with 17 points hitting a career-high three triples on the night. Drake Jeffries added four three-pointers and finished the night with 14 points.

Wyoming shot 40 percent from the field on the night and 37 percent from behind the arc. The Aztecs shot 41 percent and were held to 30 percent from the field in the second half. SDSU finished the game shooting 55 percent from behind the arc going 12-of-22.

The Aztecs got off to an early 5-0 lead in the opening minute of play. The run was halted by a layup from Maldonado at the 18:43 mark of the opening frame later followed by a triple from Jeremiah Oden for a tie game.

Adam Seiko and Matt Bradley added threes for the Aztecs, as SDSU would take a 11-7 advantage with 15:20 left in the half. Jeffries added back-to-back threes followed by a three from Noah Reynolds for a 16-14 Wyoming lead at the 12:40 mark of the first half.

Brendan Wenzel gave the Pokes a spark off the bench with a nifty pass to Maldonado for a bucket and a three pointer for a 21-16 lead for the Pokes with just over 11 minutes left in the first frame. Trey Pulliam added a triple followed by a Bradley jumper and triple for a 26-22 Aztec lead with 7:08 left in the opening frame.

The Aztecs hit their eighth three-pointer of the game for a 33-26 lead at the five-minute mark of the first half and added their ninth for a seven-point lead at 36-29 at the 3:44 mark of the first stanza. Bradley would make it a 39-31 contest on a and-one play, but Oden hit a three-pointer for a 39-34 game with ninety seconds left in the half.

Keshad Johnson recorded SDSU’s tenth triple of the game for a 44-34 lead. Jeffries closed the half with a three ball himself for a 44-37 game at the break. The Aztecs went 10-of-14 from behind the arc in the first frame.

The three-ball was falling to open the second half for the Aztecs taking a 50-39 lead on a pair of triples in the opening two minutes of the half. Maldonado helped pull the Pokes within seven points a pair of times at the 15-minute mark of the half, as he would get to double-figures.

The Pokes could not cut the deficit to under seven points struggling for the field going 1-of-9 for a stretch, but a three-pointer from Wenzel made it a 58-52 game with 8:50 left in the game and Reynolds made it a four-point contest seconds later.

The Pokes would use the free throw line to cut it to a three-point game at 60-57 with 6:11 left in the game. The Pokes would cut the lead down three-points at 64-61 with layups from Oden and Ike with 3:53 left in the game. Oden made it one point game with a three-pointer for a 65-64 contest with 2:14 left.

The teams would exchange free throws until a pair of buckets for the Aztecs made it a 71-66 game with 15 seconds remaining. The Aztecs would walk away with the 73-66 win.

The Aztecs were led Bradley with 30 points, as he went 10-of-20 from the field and 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Pulliam added 14 points on the night.

Wyoming will hit the road on Wednesday heading to UNLV for the only meeting between the teams this season in conference play. The contest is set for an 8:30 p.m. MT start on FS1.

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Cowboys Take Down Wolf Pack in Dome of Doom, 74-61

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Graham Ike led the Pokes with 23 points and 15 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. He was 8-of-15 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.

Hunter Maldonado added 22 points with nine rebounds. He added six assists and is now second all-time at Wyoming with 472 helpers passing Brandon Ewing.

He also moved into the top-10 in scoring at Wyoming and is ninth all-time at UW. Jeremiah Oden added 10 points for his 11th game in double-figures.

The Pokes shot 43 percent from the field and 32 percent from behind the arc hitting nine three pointers on the night. Wyoming held Nevada to 37 percent from the field, as Wyoming has held opponents to under 40 percent for the 13th time this season.

Wyoming held a 40-36 advantage on the glass for the contest and added 13 second chance points.

“Our guys are really connected, and we’ve been stressing to them that everyone needs to strive to do everything a little bit better,” Linder said.  There are certain things our guys know they have to do to finish things off right this year.” 

“We hold them accountable as coaches, and our players know to win a championship the defensive end is where it starts.”To hold a team (Nevada) that is one of the best offensive teams in the country to only 37 percent shooting was big for us tonight,” he said.

After Nevada opened the contest with a bucket, Wyoming went on an 10-0 run with triples from Xavier DuSell and Drake Jeffries and buckets from Maldonado and Ike. Desmond Cambridge ended the Pokes run with a three to make it a 10-5 game with 16:35 left in the first frame.

The Pokes would go on a 5-0 run with a triple from Oden and bucket from Ike to make it a 15-5 game at the 14:17 mark of the first frame. Maldonado went on a 5-0 run himself and gave the Pokes a 20-7 lead with 12:39 remaining in the first frame.

Another 5-0 run with a bucket from DuSell and triple from Maldonado made it a 25-10 game for the Pokes halfway through the half. Noah Reynolds would hit a three-pointer off the dish from Ike to push the lead to 28-12 a minute later.

The Wolf Pack would take the lead down to 11 points, but Ike would push it back to 15 at 32-17 with 6:38 left in the half. The Pokes would go scoreless for over two and a half minutes until Jeffries added a layup to make it a 35-21 game at the four-minute mark of the half.

Nevada’s Tre Coleman recorded an and-one play to make it a 35-24 game with just under three minutes left in the half. Ike would hit four-straight free throws to give Wyoming a 39-24 lead with just under two minutes left in the half. Ike later added a and-one play and the Pokes took a 42-26 lead into the half.

Oden and Ike added buckets early in the second frame to give Wyoming a 46-26 advantage ninety seconds into the frame. But the Wolf Pack went on a 9-0 run over 1:21 to make it a 46-35 game with 16:41 left in the game. But the Pokes responded with a 5-0 run with an Ike bucket and Oden three pointer.

Ike would later hit a pair of buckets and help the Pokes take an 18-point lead at 55-37 with just under 14 minutes remaining, as Ike surpassed 20-point mark. Jeffries would add a triple for a 17-point game at 58-41 at the 12:15 mark of the half. But the Wolf Pack would make it a 12-point contest halfway through the half.

Maldonado added a free throw and a bucket to make it a 66-50 game with just over seven minutes remaining in the contest. Kenan Blackshear added a pair of buckets and a pair of free throws from Daniel Foster made it a 10-point game for UW at 66-56 with 5:41 remaining.

Maldonado would make it a 13-point game, but the Wolf Pack battled back. The Pokes would ice the contest with a Maldonado slam and DuSell added a triple as Wyoming would take the game 74-61.

Nevada was led by Desmond Cambridge Jr. and Grant Sherfield with 12 points each. Grant Sherfield, the top assist man in the Mountain West had five in the contest.

Wyoming remains at home, playing host to San Diego State on Monday at 7 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.

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Cowboys Head South for Border War at Colorado State

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The Cowboys head south to take on Colorado State on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in a contest on CBS Sports Network. Both teams are receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Wyoming won the first contest of the season in overtime by a score of 84-78.

Fans can, listen to the contest, as well as follow stats on GoWyo.com. The contest will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Reece Monaco will have the call with Kevin McKinney on color.

About The Teams

Wyoming heads into the contest with a 22-4 overall record and a 11-2 mark in the conference and are in second place in the Mountain West. The Pokes defeated Air Force 75-67 at home on Saturday.

The Cowboys are 8-3 on the road this season. Wyoming is averaging 75.7 points per game ranking second in the conference behind Colorado State.

The Pokes are shooting 48 percent from the field for No. 26 in the nation and are allowing opponents to shoot 42 percent to rank fourth in the conference. Wyoming has five games remaining with three of those contests in the Dome of Doom.

The Rams have won five of their last six games with their only loss occurring in their last game at UNLV on Saturday. They sit in third in the Mountain West Conference standings with an 11-4 league record.

Colorado State is the highest-scoring squad in the MWC, averaging 76.1 points per game. The Rams surrender 67.6 points per contest, allowing foes to shoot 42.7 percent from the floor and 33.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

Conversely, Colorado State connects on a league-best 49 percent of its field goal attempts and 36.5 percent of its shots from 3-point land. 

About The Players

Wyoming is led by scoring this season by Graham Ike at 21.1 per game to rank second in the league and ninth in the nation. He also leads the team in rebounds at 9.4 per game for second in the MW.

He is one of three players in the nation to average over 20 points per game and nine or more rebounds. He along with Hunter Maldonado are the nation’s top scoring duo, as Maldonado adds 19.6 points per game to rank third in the MW.

He ranks second in the conference and ranks fifth in the nation with 6.3 assists per game. Drake Jeffries adds 10.3 points per night and ranks No. 13 in the nation shooting 43 percent from behind the arc.

The Rams are led by David Roddy who pours in 19.4 points per game, and that ranks fourth in the Mountain West Conference.

He also leads the squad with 7.6 rebounds per contest while also chipping in three assists per game. Isaiah Stevens adds 15.2 points and a team-best 4.9 assists per game, which ranks third in the league. John Tonje comes off the bench to chip in 10.2 points per contest.

About The Series

Wyoming leads the all-time series with Colorado State, 137-100, in a series that dates back to 1911. The Rams have claimed wins in six of the last 10 meetings and five of the last seven, however, the Pokes won this year’s matchup in Laramie, 84-78, in overtime. 

Up Next

Wyoming returns home, playing host to Nevada on Saturday at 6 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.

Maldonado and Ike Surge #22 Cowboys Past Air Force, 75-67

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The leading scoring duo in the nation went to work on Saturday, as Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike combined for 56 points in Wyoming’s 75-67 win over Air Force in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys improve to 22-4 overall and 11-2 in the Mountain West and moved to 12-0 at home this season.

“We talked in practice this week about how the last couple of games we played against Air Force we kind of had some lulls between the eight-minute mark and the four-minute mark of the first half,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. 

“Tonight, Graham (Ike) got his second foul during that time, and Air Force did some things a little differently defensively against us to try and limit he dribble downs by Maldo (Hunter Maldonado).  I thought we still got some good shots.  In the second half, we did a better job of knocking down shots.”

Maldonado led the Pokes in scoring with 29 points. He also added eight assists and seven rebounds and has eight or more assists in a game seven times this season. Ike recorded a double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds for his 11th of the season. He went a perfect 11-of-11 from the field. It is the only time this season in the nation a player has went 11-of-11 from the field, the previous best was 10-of10.

Wyoming shot 51 percent from the field and shot 54 percent in the second frame. Wyoming held Air force to 44 percent from the field, but the Falcons shot 47 percent from behind the arc. Wyoming held a 32-28 advantage on the glass and finished the night scoring 42 points in the paint and 11 on second chances.

“We just need to start making some threes again,” Linder said.  “It’s one thing when you are shooting contested threes, but we had some uncontested looks that more times than not our guys knock down.  Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on making threes to win games.  When you go 22 for 26 from the foul line like we did today — that’s the difference in the game.”

Both teams found early rhythm on the offensive end for an early 7-5 lead for the Pokes, as Ike, Maldonado and Jeffries did the damage for the Brown and Gold in the opening three minutes. The Pokes would push it to 12-7 contest thanks to Ike and Maldonado with 14:58 left in the half.

Maldonado got to double-digits with a turnaround for a 20-13 Wyoming lead halfway through the half. He opened the contest 4-of-5 from the field. DuSell would knock down a corner three-pointer followed by a three from Maldonado for a 28-15 game at the 8:05 mark of the opening frame.

The Falcons would cut the lead to single digits with a triple from Ethan Taylor for a 30-21 game with 4:37 left in the first half. Air Force would then hold the Pokes scoreless for over five minutes to close the half making it a four-point contest at 30-26 at the break.

Ike and Maldonado helped the Pokes early in the second frame to build a seven-point lead at 36-29 in the opening two minutes of the frame. Nikc Jackson made it a four-point game with an and-one play for a 40-36 Wyoming lead with 13:50 left in the game.

DuSell would hit a pair of free throws and Maldonado added an acrobatic layup for a 44-36 lead for the Pokes with 13:22 left in the game. Air Force would cut the lead to lead to three points and then tied the game at 46-46 with a three-pointer from Lucas Moerman at the 10:50 mark of the half.

Maldonado and Ike helped the Pokes take a 50-46 lead, but Moerman added another three for a one-point contest with eight-minute remaining. Once again Ike and Maldonado help lead a charge with a layup from and an and-one off a steal from Maldonado for a 55-49 lead for the Pokes with just over seven minutes left.

Brendan Wenzel would pick up and offensive rebound and a put back and later added a pair of free throws from a 63-55 game with 3:32 left in the contest. Ike would make it a 12-point game at 67-55 with just over two minutes left.

The Falcons cut it to 10-points with under a minute remaining, but a slam by Drake Jeffries pushed the lead back to 12 points. The Pokes would maintain the late advantage late despite some late shots by Air Force and took the contest 75-67.

The Falcons were led by Moerman with 15 points. AJ Walker added 14 points but was held to 7-of-19 from the field.

Wyoming returns to action on Wednesday heading to RV/RV Colorado State in a 7 p.m. start on CBS Sports Network.

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Cowboys Basketball Ranked For First Time In Seven Years; #22 in AP & Coaches Polls

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By Tracy Ringolsby, WelcomeTo7220.com

Jeff Linder arrived in Laramie prior to the 2020-21 basketball season, making it clear from the start that he saw potential for the Cowboys to regain respect on the hardwoods.

As the Cowboys head into the final portion of Linder’s second season in charge, a major step in that riection was taken on Monday. While the preseason experts picked the Cowboys to finish eighth in the 11-geam Mountain West, the Cowboys are currently sitting in first place with a 21-3 overall record and 10-1 in the Mountain West Conference.

And people are starting to pay attention.

“That’s the plan,” said Linder. “

Wyoming is ranked No. 22 in this week’s Associated Press and Coaches rankings. It’s the first time since the Cowboys were ranked 25th during the 2014-15 season with head coach Larry Shyatt that they have been listed in the polls.

“The job is far from finished but we are  very grateful to all the people working together to make this happen,” Linder posted on twitter. “It takes incredible assistants, strength coach, trainer, support staff, managers, administrators, students, fans and these special players to get to this point”

It is the highest ranking overall for the Cowboys since they were ranked 10th in the preseason poll in 1987-88, climbing as high as fifth before ending the season No. 13 under the guidance of Benny Dees.

It marks the 11th season in which the Cowboys have earned a ranking, having been recognized in the rankings during the regular season 11 times, in the preseason once (1987-88) and at season’s end three times.

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Wyo Cowboys Clobber San Jose State 74 – 52; Now 21-3 On The Season

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The Wyoming Cowboys (21-3 overall, 10-1 MW) held San Jose State to 29.8 percent from the field and Graham Ike recorded a double-double with 25 points and 18 rebounds to push Wyoming past San Jose State 74-52 on Saturday evening in the Provident Credit Union Event Center in San Jose, Calif. The Pokes won their sixth-straight contest.

“At halftime I told the guys you can’t look at the scoreboard, SJSU is talented, and we knew we could wear them down, which we did,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “I challenged Graham at the half, and he came out and dominated in the second half. San Jose State is not an easy team to defend, but we made some adjustment we needed to make and defense travels and that’s how we have won this season.”

Wyoming dominated the second half of action holding the Spartans to 24 percent from the field and outscored the Spartans 41-23 in the second frame. The Cowboys shot 60 percent from the field in the second frame.

Ike led the Pokes with his 10th 20-plus scoring game of the season to lead the Pokes, as he added 25 points and 18 boards for his 10th double-double of the season. It was the most rebounds since Justin James had 20 at Evansville on Nov. 28, 2018. Hunter Maldonado added 23 points on the night with five assists.

Wyoming finished the contest outrebounding SJSU 45-25 for the largest margin of the season and first +20 rebound margin since Utah Valley on Nov. 30, 2011. The Pokes won the battle in the paint 38-18 and recorded 11 second chance points.

The Pokes got off to an early 8-2 lead in the opening minutes thanks to a three from Wenzel, and buckets from Ike and Maldonado. The Spartans would make it a 10-7 contest for the Pokes, but both teams would go scoreless for over four minutes until Omari Moore hit a three-pointer to tie the contest at 10-10 with 11 minutes left in the first half.

The Spartans added two more three pointers and took a 16-12 lead on the Pokes halfway through the half. The Pokes battled back and tied the game with freebies from Ike and a bucket from Maldonado a minute later.

San Jose State would take the lead on multiple occasions, but a three pointer from Oden gave Wyoming a 26-25 lead with 3:20 left in the half. But San Jose State took the lead back with their fifth three pointer of the game. The Pokes would close the half on a 7-0 run and take a 33-29 lead into the half. DuSell added a three-pointer along with a layup from Ike to highlight the run.

After a three-pointer by Wenzel to open the second half, Ike would go on a 9-2 run himself to help the Pokes build a lead as large as 11 points at 45-34 in the first four minutes of the half. Maldonado would get to double-figures with a layup for a 12-point game at 49-37 with 12:30 left in the game.

Drake Jeffries would get a fast break dunk that gave Wyoming a 53-40 lead halfway through the second half. The Pokes would push the lead to 15 on pair of occasion which included a jumper from Ike for a 62-47 game with under seven minutes.

Maldonado closed the game scoring eight points, as Wyoming would go on to win the game 74-52.

The Spartans were led by Myron Amery Jr, as he had 19 points in the contest.

Wyoming remains on the road, traveling to New Mexico on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip inside The Pit.

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Cardiac Cowboys Rally Past Utah State in Overtime, 78-76

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The Cardiac Cowboys, who trailed by 10-points early in the second half rallied back and defeated Utah State in overtime 78-76 on Tuesday evening in the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. 

The Cowboys moved to 20-3 overall and 9-1 in the conference and are tied for first place in the Mountain West. The Pokes move to 6-0 this season in contests decided by two points. It was the largest comeback for the Pokes this season.

Wyoming moves to 3-0 this season in overtime and recorded their 24th 20-win season with the victory.

“I don’t mean to make a habit of it (getting two technical fouls and having to leave the game), but I felt like I needed to fight for our guys,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said.  “That was an all-star officiating crew tonight, and it is a hard job to officiate college basketball.  I have a lot of respect for those guys, but I felt like I needed to stick up for my players.”

“To see what our team did the second half against one of the best offensive teams in the country (Utah State), holding them to 40 percent shooting, I’m very proud of our guys.  The crowd played a big, big factor again in this win.  This is a special team, a special team.”

Graham Ike, like he did at Utah State knocked in a bucket in the closing seconds of the game this time in overtime, as he added a double-double with 28 points and 12 rebounds for his ninth of the season. He also tied the contest in the closing seconds of regulation.

Hunter Maldonado added 23 points for his fourth 20-plus game in his last five games. He also added five assists on the night. Drake Jeffries recorded his first career double-double 12 points and 13 rebounds for a career-high on the boards.

Wyoming shot 50 percent from the field with the Aggies shooting 48 percent. The Pokes lost the battle on the glass for the first time in seven games 36-31. Wyoming went 22-of-32 from the free throw line on the night.

The Pokes used the paint early for three baskets with two from and one from Maldonado for a 6-5 lead two plus minutes in. Brandon Horvath added five points for the Aggies to open the game. Maldonado went down with an injury and Ike was tagged with two fouls and Linder was ejected from the contest.

Utah State would then go on an 8-0 run to take a 13-6 lead. Wyoming would answer with a 7-3 run making it a 16-13 game for the Aggies with 14:28 left in the half. Wyoming went on another 7-3 run to run to make it a one-point game at 21-20.

A quick 5-0 run with a Maldonado jumper and a Wenzel three-pointer made it a 26-25 lead for the Pokes. Utah State later went on a 9-3 run to take a 36-32 lead with 4:21 left in the first frame. The Pokes would cut it to a one-point game at the free throw line at 36-35, but the Aggies finished the half with a 40-36 lead.

Utah State opened the lead up to 48-38 in the opening 90 seconds of the first half hitting three-straight field goals. Ike answered with a 6-0 run himself over 1:45 for a 48-44 game for Utah State with 16:44 left in the game. The Aggies went scoreless for over four minutes with the Pokes for over three, but Utah State added a three-pointer to make it a 51-44 game with 13:57 remaining.

Maldonado added a free throw followed by a three pointer and an Ike freebie made it a one-point deficit for the Pokes at 51-50 with 12:51 remaining. Jeremiah Oden tied the contest at 53-53 nearly halfway through the half with a pair from the free throw line.

Jeffries gave the Pokes a 58-57 lead with a three-pointer with 8:05 left in the game. He would later give the Pokes a 62-59 lead with a jumper with 6:13 left in the game. But Justin Bean added back-to-back buckets for a 63-62 USU lead a minute later.

The Pokes would take a brief lead, but Bean would add a free throw and a bucket for a 66-64 lead for the Aggies with 2:48 left. Ike tied the contest, but Bean added a slam for a 68-66 game for USU with 2:03 left.

Ike tied the contest 16 seconds left with a pair of free throws for a 68-68 game. The Aggies had a chance late, but time ran out and the contest went to overtime.

Maldonado added an and-one and Ike added a free throw for an early 72-68 lead in overtime. But the Aggies battled back with a 4-0 run and tied the game at 74-74 with 1:25 left. 

Both teams traded buckets and Ike added an offensive rebound to give Wyoming a 78-76 lead with six seconds left. The Pokes forced a miss from the Aggies and walked away with their 11-straight win in the Dome of Doom.

The Aggies were led Horvath 20 points and adding eight. Bean added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Wyoming takes to the road, traveling to San Jose State on Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip time inside the Provident Credit Union Event Center.

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Wyoming’s Hunter Maldonado Named College Basketball National Player Of The Week

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By Nick Seeman

After becoming the first Cowboy to earn Mountain West Player of the Week three times in a season, Hunter Maldonado made it another first, as he was named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Tuesday. 

No other Cowboy player has garnered the honor.

As the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week, Maldonado was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. 

Once again, the USBWA will select a Division I men’s National Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. The USBWA has named Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week since the 2009-10 season.

A 6-7 senior from Colorado Springs, Colo., averaged 24.0 points per game, 6.7 assists and five rebounds in three conference wins and has helped lead the Pokes to their best start in conference play since the 2001-02 team that also opened the season 8-1 in the MW. 

In three games this past week, he shot 55 percent from the field for the week and was 19-of-23 from the free throw line (83 percent).

Monday night, Maldonado posted a career-high 35 points in an 84-78 overtime win against Colorado State. He shot 63 percent from the field in the game and added seven assists. 

He then added 16 points and seven assists on Thursday night against Boise State, a 72-65 win. 

To cap the week, he scored 21 points to go with six assists and five rebounds in a 61-59 win at Fresno State on Sunday.

Maldonado, the Mountain West’s third-leading scorer (19.3), is the first Wyoming player to earn the USBWA’s national weekly honor and the second straight Mountain West honoree this season, joining UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton a week ago. Maldonado’s 6.4 assists per game are fourth in the nation.

Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. 

It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and the Oscar Robertson Trophy, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

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Cowboys Welcome Utah State to Dome of Doom on Tuesday

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The Cowboys return home to the Dome of Doom for a Tuesday night clash with Utah State in a contest slated for a 7 p.m. start on Stadium and the MW Network. The Pokes are 10-0 at home this season and have won 11-straight home contests dating back to last season.

Fans may order tickets online at GoWyo.com/tickets, by emailing tickets@uwyo.edu or by calling (307) 766-7220.

Fans can watch, listen to the contest, as well as follow stats on GoWyo.com. The contest will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Reece Monaco will have the call with Kevin McKinney on color.

About The Teams
Wyoming heads into the contest with a 19-3 overall record and are 8-1 in conference play tying for the best start in MW play in school history with the 2001-02 team. The Pokes have not lost a home contest in a calendar year. Wyoming rank ninth in the nation in three-point percentage defense at 28 percent.

The Pokes are shooting 36 percent from behind the arc to rank third in the conference. The Pokes have cleaned up the glass in the last seven games winning the battle on the boards. Wyoming ranks first in the conference with 28 defensive rebounds per game.

The Aggies are the hottest team in the Mountain West having won their last five games. Those victories have come by a combined 105 points. That has vaulted Utah State from a 1-5 beginning to conference play to a 6-5 league mark and back into the NCAA Tournament at-large discussion.

The Aggies rank second in the Mountain West, hitting 48.6 percent of their field goal attempts, while they allow their foes to hit 41.7 percent of their shots from the field.

About The Players
Wyoming is led by scoring this season by Graham Ike at 20 per game to rank second in the league. He also leads the team in rebounds at 8.9 per game for third in the MW. He is one of three players in the nation to average over 20 points per game and 8.9 or more rebounds.

He along with Hunter Maldonado are the nation’s top scoring duo, as Maldonado adds 19.3 points per game to rank third in the MW. He leads the conference and ranks fourth in the nation with 6.4 assists per game. Drake Jeffries adds 10.9 points per night and ranks fifth in the nation shooting 47 percent from behind the arc.

The Aggies are paced by Justin Bean who nearly averages a double-double. He puts up a stat line of 18.7 points — good enough for fifth in the Mountain West — and 9.9 rebounds per game, which is tops in the league.

Brandon Horvath adds 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest, while Sean Bairstow chips in 10.3 points per game. Three other players average between 8.2-8.8 points per game. Rylan Jones leads the team with 4.9 assists per contest, and that ranks fourth in the conference.

About The Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Utah State 52-33, in a series that dates back to 1926. The Pokes won the first meeting this season, 71-69, Logan, however, the Aggies had won six meetings in a row.

Up Next
Wyoming takes to the road, traveling to San Jose State on Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip time inside the Provident Credit Union Event Center.

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Cowboys Beat Fresno State 61-59; Off To Best Conference Start In 20 Years

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The Cowboy defense and play on the glass lifted the Pokes to a 61-59 win over Fresno State on Sunday in the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The Pokes move to 19-3 overall and 8-1 in the conference for the best start in the MW since the 2001-02 season. The Pokes held a commanding lead on the glass on the night on their way to the victory winning the boards 46-28.

“We knew what kind of effort and toughness was needed,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “Fresno State on the road is a quad one win and we had to meet their toughness. We are going to have a time and place for others to step up and they did tonight.”

Wyoming was led by Hunter Maldonado with 21 points on the night. He also added eight rebounds and six assists. Graham Ike added 14 points and eight rebounds. Brendan Wenzel added 12 points on the night with a trio of threes to lead the Pokes. Wenzel added seven rebounds tying a career high. Drake Jeffries added nine rebounds to lead the Pokes, as four players had eight or more rebounds.

The Pokes held Fresno State to 39 percent from the field, as Wyoming shot 40 percent. Wyoming recorded 12 points off second chances on 14 offensive rebounds. The Pokes held the Bulldogs to only four three pointers with two coming late in the game.

After the Bulldogs opened the contest with an early 3-0 lead, the Pokes went on 7-0 over two minutes to take a 7-3 lead with 16 minutes left in the half. Ike led the run along with a three pointer from Brendan Wenzel. The Bulldogs tied the contest, but Maldonado hit back-to-back buckets for 11-7 lead for the Pokes with 12:42 left in the opening frame.

Fresno State would battle to take a 16-15 lead with just under eight minutes left in the first frame, but Drake Jeffries knocked down a three pointer the following trip down the floor to halt the 5-0 run for the Bulldogs. Hunter Thompson would give the Pokes a five-point lead with a three pointer for a 23-18 with a few ticks under five minutes left in the first stanza.

Wenzel added his second triple of the game for a 28-22 lead for the Pokes with 90 seconds left In the half. The Pokes held the Bulldogs to only two points in the final 2:44 to take a 28-24 lead into the half.

After Isaiah Hill opened the second half with a three-pointer, Graham Ike hit a jumper and a pair of freebies to make it a 32-27 contest two minutes into the half. Maldonado pushed the contest to seven points the following trip down the hardwood hitting a spinning jumper.

Thompson would add his second three-pointer of the game to give the Pokes a 40-32 lead with 12:19 left in the contest. Junior Ballard made it a four-point game at 40-36 exactly halfway through the half. Hill added a pair of buckets and made it a two-point game at 42-40 with 8:30 left.

Fresno State would continue to battle pulling within two once again, but a Wenzel three-pointer from the corner made it a 47-42 contest with 6:25 remaining. It got Wenzel to 11 points for his fifth game in double figures this season.

Maldonado would grab an offensive rebound and add a bucket to push the lead to seven points at 49-42 and later pushed it back to seven on a pass to Ike for a 51-44 game with 3:57 remaining. Ike pushed the lead to nine points at 53-44 with 3:19 left. He missed the and-one opportunity, as Fresno State added a bucket seconds later.

Hill made it a four-point game with a three-pointer making it a 53-49 game with 1:52 remaining. After Maldonado added a pair of free throws, Hill hit another three-pointer for a 55-52 game with 1:08 left.

Maldonado added a pair of free throws, but Fresno State hit three of their own and made it a 57-55 game for the Pokes with 23 seconds remaining. Wenzel and Jeffries add free throws for 59-55 game, but Hill rushed to the basket and added a bucket for a 59-57 game with six seconds left.

Jeffries added a pair of free throws with 4.9 seconds left for a 61-57 game and a late second shot by Fresno State made it a 61-59 game for the Pokes.

The Bulldogs were led Hill with 25 points. Orlando Robinson added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Wyoming returns home taking on Utah State in the Arena-Auditorium on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.

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Cowboys Down Lobos In Wild Shootout, 93-91; Pokes Off To Best Start In 7 Years

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The Wyoming Cowboys downed the New Mexico Lobos in a wild shootout inside the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday evening by a score of 93-91. The Pokes shot 58 percent from the field with the Lobos shooting 54 percent, as the Pokes move to 15-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference for the best start since the 2014-15 season.

“That was our fourth game in eight days, and I want to thank the students and the fans for turning the Double A into the Dome of Doom there for a little while tonight,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said.

“Our guys keep finding ways to win.  They stuck together.  There are some things we’re going to have to take from tonight and learn from them.  You’re not going to win a lot of games if you allow teams to shoot 66 percent in the second half like we did tonight.”

Both team’s shot lights out in the second frame. Wyoming shot 73 percent in the stanza going 16-of-22 and went 15-of-17 inside the arc. The Lobos stayed in the game shooting 64 percent from the arc in the second half. The Lobos hit 10 threes in the contest, as Wyoming had held opponents to under 10 threes in 28-straight games.

“That is a team (New Mexico) if you look at their record you might not think the game should be as close as it was, but if you watch New Mexico in the other conference games they’ve played this year they’ve played everybody tough in this league,” Linder said. That game tonight was the same game Colorado State had to play the other night to get their win over New Mexico.”

The Pokes were led by Graham Ike with 29 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. He has scored 20 or more points in nine games. Hunter Maldonado added 25 points with seven assists and six rebounds. It marked the first time since Jan. 31, 2018 that two players scored 25 or more points in a game. Hayden Dalton had 26 points with Justin James adding 25 in a win at Colorado State.

Brendan Wenzel added 13 points on 4-of-8 from behind the arc. Wenzel has scored in double figures in back-to-back gam­­es. Drake Jeffries added 14 points with eight points in the second half.

The Pokes recorded a season-high 35 free throws shooting 77 percent. The Pokes recorded 34 rebounds and held the Lobos to only 23. The Pokes also added 11 second chance points with New Mexico adding only two. The Lobos did damage in transition off turnovers with 19 points off Cowboy miscues.

“In close games, when you have the ability to play inside out, like we can, even if you don’t get a basket inside you can kick it out for some easy threes,” Linder said.  “We created a lot of good threes off moving the ball — not as many in the second half as in the first.  We also did a good job of getting to the foul line.  We just found a way to win the game, and I’m proud of the guys effort.”

The Lobos opened the game hitting their first four shots of the game to take an early 9-8 lead. The Pokes opened 3-of-3 with a pair of triples and a layup. Wenzel would add back-to-back threes to give Wyoming a 14-11 lead at the 15:15 mark of the opening frame.

The Pokes went scoreless for nearly three minutes, as the Lobos took a 17-15 lead, but Wenzel cut the streak, but New Mexico’s Jay Allen-Tovar added an and-one play for a 20-18 lead at the 11:36 mark. Jeffries would add a paint-touch three ball to give Wyoming a 25-22 lead at the 9:33 mark of the stanza.

Neither team could find a bucket for over three minutes until Wenzel added his fourth three-pointer of the half followed by a trip of free throws from Noah Reynolds for a 34-27 lead with under five minutes left in the half.

After the Pokes took an eight-point lead, the Lobos went on a 5-0 run to make it a 37-34 game with just over two minutes left in the half. The Pokes closed the frame on a 4-0 run holding the Lobos to 0-4 from the field to take a 41-34 lead into the break.

The Pokes pushed the lead to 10 points at 47-47 early in the first half with a pair of buckets from Ike and layup from Maldonado. The Lobos cut it back to six with a pair of quick buckets. But Ike would push it back to 10 points at the line for a 51-41 game with under 17 minutes left.

The Lobos would hit a pair of three-pointers to make it a four-point game at 51-47 with 14:58 left in the game. The Pokes would head to the paint to push the lead back to eight points at 57-49 thanks to a bucket from Jeremiah Oden.

But the shooting of the Lobos would make it a four-point game at 59-54 at the 11:36 mark. The Pokes would push the lead to nine points with under nine minutes left. But back-to-back dunks from Jamal Mashburn Jr. and a layup from Javontae Johnson it made it a 69-66 game in favor of the Pokes with 7:24 left in the game.

The Lobos would make it a one-point game on a Mashburn three-pointer, but Jeffries answered back for a 76-72 game with 4:55 left. Allen-Tovar made it a two-point game with four minutes left and the teams would go back and forth between a two- and four-point contest over the next three minutes.

The Pokes would take the ball back with 44 seconds left after a Lobo turnover. The Pokes missed three-straight free throws until Reynolds made it a five-point game at 87-82 with 42 seconds remaining. KJ Jenkins hit three-straight free throws to make it a two-point contest at 87-85 with 32 seconds remaining.

Jeffries added a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game at 89-85 with 29 seconds remaining. House would make it a two-point game and things would get interesting from there. The Pokes would turn the ball over, but Mashburn would be called with a charge followed by a bench technical, as the Pokes would seal the game late at the line. Wenzel made it a four-point game and House hit a shot late for a 93-91 win for the Pokes.

The Lobos were led by Allen-Tovar with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Mashburn added 22 points going 10-of-17 from the field in the contest.

Wyoming heads to Boise State on Tuesday evening for a 7 p.m. start in a contest on the MW Network and Stadium.

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Cowboys Head to No. 8 Arizona on Wednesday; Both Teams are Undefeated

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The Wyoming Cowboys, who earned a vote in the recent Coaches Top-25 Poll head to eighth ranked Arizona on Wednesday night in a battle of undefeated teams. The contest marks the first meeting between the teams since 2004. The contest is set for a 8 p.m. start on the Pac-12 Network.

Fans can listen to the contest, as well as follow stats on GoWyo.com. The contest will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Reece Monaco will have the call with Kevin McKinney on color.

About The Teams

Wyoming enters the contest as one of 12 undefeated teams in the nation with an 8-0 mark. Th Cowboys picked up a vote in the recent Coaches Poll and rank No. 12 in the first NCAA Net Rankings. Wyoming ranks ninth in the nation this season allowing opponents to only shoot 36 percent from the field. Wyoming also ranks sixth in the nation in defensive rebounding with 31.2 per game. The Pokes are eighth in the nation in scoring margin at +23.2. UW also takes care of the basketball ranking No. 11 in the nation with 9.5 turnovers per game.

The Arizona Wildcats are led by first-year head coach Tommy Lloyd. He was a long-time assistant coach at Gonzaga under Mark Few. Arizona is 7-0 on the season, 1-0 in Pac-12 play, and the Wildcats boast the nation’s largest scoring margin at 32 points per game. Arizona was selected to finish tied for fourth in the preseason Pac-12 poll.

About The Players

Wyoming is led in scoring by MW Player of the Week Graham Ike. He has recorded double-doubles in back-to-back games. He is averaging 20.8 points per game for the season and nine rebounds per game. He ranks No. 16 in the nation in points per game. Guard Hunter Maldonado adds 18.9 points per game to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He ranks No. 25 in the nation in assists. Guard Drake Jeffries adds 11.4 points per game and ranks second in the nation in three-point percentage at 56 percent.

The Arizona Wildcats enjoy a balanced offensive attack, as four players average double figures. Bennedict Mathurin leads the way, pouring in 16 points per game while also collecting 6.1 rebounds per contest. Christian Koloko adds 15.6 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds per game. Azoulas Tubelis and Kerr Kriisa chip in 15.6 and 10.1 points per contest, respectively. The Wildcats are tops in the nation, scoring over 91 points per game.

About The Series

Wyoming and Arizona will meet for the first time since 2004. Arizona leads the all-time series against the Pokes by a mark of 20-15. Wyoming is 3-14 all-time in Tucson. The Wildcats took the last meet on Nov. 30, 2004 by a score of 98-70.

Up Next

The Cowboys return home on Saturday hosting Utah Valley in the Arena-Auditorium for a 8 p.m. start on the MW Network.

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Pokes Move To 8-0 On The Season With 79 – 58 Win Over McNeese State

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The Wyoming Cowboys remained perfect on the season with a 79-58 win over McNeese State in the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday afternoon. Wyoming dominated the paint in the contest scoring 36 points and added 18 points at the free throw line and held a 50-34 advantage on the glass. The Pokes are 8-0 on the season for the best start since opening 13-0 during the 2012-13 season.

“I thought our guys really executed the game plan well,” UW Head coach Jeff Linder said. We didn’t make as many mistakes as we did against Denver. We were more dialed in today. They (McNeese State) are a tough team to play because they are so physical and really athletic, so you have to fight through that. The officials can’t call a foul every time down. You have to fight through their (McNeese State’s) pressure, and that is good for us because that’s what we’re going to see when we play teams like San Diego State and Fresno State.

Forwards Graham Ike and Jeremiah Oden each added double-doubles in the game marking the second time this season (Maldonado and Ike at GCU) Wyoming has had two players with a double-double. Ike recorded 18 points and added 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Oden added 13 points and 10 rebounds. He was 5-of-7 from the field.

Guard Hunter Maldonado added 20 points to lead the Cowboys. He also added five rebounds and went 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Guard Brendan Wenzel added a career-high 11 points off the bench for the Cowboys. Guard Xavier DuSell added nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.

“I thought J.O. (Jeremiah Oden) and (Brendan) Wenzel did a tremendous job,” Linder said. “Brendan’s parents and grandma were here today and so it was good for them to see him play well, and he’s been playing well. He just needs to continue to get better. You can see with J.O. that he continues to get better and better. Noah (Reynolds) did a tremendous job, and we need that other guard to take some pressure off Maldo (Hunter Maldonado). The one thing about Noah is he’s not scared. In terms of confidence, he believes he’s the best player on the court and whether that is right or wrong I’d rather have a guy with that type of confidence rather than a guy you have to build up.”

The Cowboys shot 44 percent from the field in the game and held McNeese State to 35 percent. Wyoming recorded only seven turnovers for the fifth-straight game with 10 or fewer turnovers.

Neither team could muster much offense in the opening minutes of play. The Pokes took a 6-0 lead with all points from Ike. McNeese State opened the contest 0-9 from the field and got on the board at the 13:58 mark of the first frame.

The Cowboys would continue the solid defense and a and-one play from Brendan Wenzel made it a 12-5 contest with just under 12 minutes left in the first frame. McNeese State would us a 7–0 run to make it a four-point game at 16-14 in favor of UW with under eight minutes in the first stanza.

Another 7-0 run by McNeese State would give them a 21-18 lead at the six-minute mark. Wyoming would use a 6-0 scoring surge for a 24-21 lead, but McNeese responded with 5-0 run to later to take a 26-24 lead at the 2:55 mark of the frame.

Wyoming closed out the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 33-26 lead at the break. Oden started the run with a slam and a pair of freebies followed by five-straight points by Maldonado. McNeese State closed the half shooting 2-of-9 from the field.

UW opened the second half with a pair of buckets from Ike and Oden to take a 37-26 lead. Oden added a three-pointer to make it a 42-28 contest at the 16:47 mark. Maldonado would then take over for UW scoring eight-straight for the Pokes to build the lead to 50-35 with 13:20 left in the contest.

The Pokes would enjoy their double-digit lead thanks to Oden, as he reached his double-double and added a pair of buckets to build the lead to 60-45 with eight minutes left. Guard Drake Jeffries knocked down a three-pointer for a 69-50 lead for UW with 3:42 left in the game.

Wenzel helped the Pokes close the game with eight of Wyoming’s final 10 points, as Wyoming took the contest 79-58.

McNeese State was led by Trae English and Christian Shumate with 12 points apiece. Schumate led the team with eight rebounds.

The Cowboys hit the road for a matchup at No. 11 Arizona on Wednesday in a contest slated for a 8 p.m. start on the PAC-12 Network.

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