Cowboys Fall Short at Colorado State, 84-71
* University of Wyoming press release
FORT COLLINS, Colo., -- The Wyoming Cowboys could not overcome the hot shooting of the Colorado State Rams falling on the road by a score of 84-71 on Friday evening in Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo.
The Pokes and Rams split the regular season series with each team winning a game on their respective floors.
“When you allow the other team to shoot 60 percent, it’s going to be tough to win,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “But at the 7:07 mark of the second half, it’s a five-point game and we had the momentum. They (CSU) came down and shoot a shot and then they get two offensive rebounds that ends up leading to a three by them. In that stretch, they went on a 10-0 run and the game goes from five to 15 points and the game is over.”
Wyoming was led by Hunter Maldonado with 23 points for his 105th career game in double-figures and his 28th game with 20 or more points. He also added six rebounds and five assists on the night and is four away from the MW helpers record. Brendan Wenzel added 17 points for his ninth game this season in double-figures. He hit five threes on the night. Hunter Thompson added 12 points for his fifth game this season with four or more threes.
“Maldo is a warrior and hopefully on Monday, which I know it’s tough sometimes for fans to come out on a Monday night, but I hope the Wyoming faithful come out and honor those two guys -- Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson,” Linder said. “They are a rare breed and they’re going to become even a rarer breed as college basketball evolves. Those two guys are loyal. We better go out dying for those two guys as a team, because in this day and age when it is easy to blame someone else, they didn’t blame anyone. They could have left. Maldo could have left to get NIL money, but that guy is loyal to the University of Wyoming and loyal to the Brown and Gold.
"Hunter Thompson has also got the brunt of a lot of things being the Wyoming kid on our team, but that guy gave his heart and soul to the University of Wyoming. I hope and pray, as I hope and pray for my dad, that people show up on Monday and honor those guys. They deserve to be honored.”
The Cowboys shot 45 percent from the field in the contest and finished the night with 10 three-pointers. The Rams shot 59 percent from the field and 44 percent from behind the arc. Colorado State held a 32-19 advantage on the glass. Colorado State went an impressive 19-of-21 from the free throw line
The Pokes used early threes by Thompson and Wenzel to take an 8-5 advantage in the opening two and a half minutes. The Rams would take a 10-8 lead until a slam from Caden Powell off a nice dish from Wenzel tied the game with 15 minutes left in the first half.
The Rams went on a 10-0 run and would take a 22-12 lead on the Pokes with just under 12 minutes left in the half. Jeremiah Oden ended the slide the following trip down the floor for the Pokes. Colorado State would enjoy the double-digit lead halfway through the half.
The Cowboys cut the Ream lead that was as high as 12 points to nine on a three-pointer from Maldonado for a 28-19 contest with 7:06 left in the first half. The Rams would hold the Pokes scoreless for an extended period building the lead to 35-19 with under five minutes left in the half.
Wyoming went on a 6-0 run over 80 seconds to make it a 35-25 game for the Rams with 2:59 left in the first half. Thompson hit his second three-pointer of the game and made it a 38-30 game with under a minute remaining on the first half clock and the Rams took a 40-30 lead into the half shooting 62.5 percent from the field.
After a dunk by John Tonje of Colorado State, Wenzel hit a three-pointer to make it a 42-33 game in the opening minute of the second half. The Pokes would make it an eight-point game thanks to Wenzel, but Tonje added a three ball for a 47-36 game with 17 minutes left.
Wyoming held the Rams scoreless for nearly four-minutes and made it a 49-44 game with 13 minutes left. The Rams would push the lead to 55-46 halfway through the half. Thompson made it a six-point game with a triple, but the Rams pushed it to 59-49 with 8:57 left.
Wenzel added his third three-pointer of the game and Maldonado added an and-one play to make it a 63-58 game with 7:30 left, but Isaiah Stevens added a three-pointer seconds later to make it an eight-point game and moved to a 10-point game with six minutes left.
The Rams would go on a 10-0 run and push the contest to 73-58 with 4:10 remaining. Oden would make it a 10-point contest with an and-one play followed by a triple for a 76-66 game with 2:15 remaining, but that is as close as Wyoming would get falling 84-71.
The Rams were led by Tonje with 25 points. Stevens added a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists.
The Cowboys return to action on Monday hosting Nevada in the Arena-Auditorium in a 7 p.m. start. The contest will be Senior Night as Wyoming will honor Maldonado and Thompson prior to the game.