Cowboys comeback falls short in 73-66 loss to San Diego State
* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release
LARAMIE -- The Cowboys nearly erased a 11-point second-half deficit but fell just short in a 73-66 loss to San Diego State Monday evening inside 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 did it against Utah in the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament in Denver in 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 deep, 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 Oden to tie the game.
Adam Seiko and 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.
Wyoming 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.