LARAMIE -- So, the Cowboys blew a 19-point halftime lead and watched a Texas Southern put-back go through the hole with 1.6 seconds left on the clock to fall, 76-74.

It was a bad loss. And inexcusable one.

It happened. It's over.

Jeff Linder was honest and candid in his postgame press conference. He summed up the loss in one word -- "fatigue."

Yes, that's an excuse. Linder was the first to say that. He knows time is running out for those. But, in case you missed it, let's revisit some obstacles that have stood in Wyoming's way:

  • The Pokes were missing two key players in Kwane Marble and Kenny Foster. Both are out because of COVID-19 protocols.
  • Graham Ike is still on the shelf as he recovers from an ACL tear.
  • Linder's group played with nine players during Monday night's loss.
  • The virus hasn't allowed the Cowboys to play any 5-on-5 basketball in more than a month.
  • It was the second Division-I game for seven of the nine available players.
  • Texas Southern is the preseason favorite to win the SWAC.

The Cowboys were really good in the first half and equally as bad in the second. They struggled in the final 20 minutes of the season opener, too.

Will that change tonight? Wyoming is playing its third game in five nights. That doesn't bode well for a tired team, right?

Here's why things could be just fine.

The Cowboys are hosting Incarnate Word, a small religious school based in San Antonio. The Cardinals are 1-1. They lost the opener to Rice, 68-53, and beat up on Our Lady of the Lake, 84-71.

This isn't exactly a powerhouse opponent.

Not to mention, Marble's mother, Alysha, posted on Twitter after the loss to TSU that both her son and Foster will be back for this game.

That has not been confirmed, but one can hope. Marble has been on the sideline in street clothes the past two games.

Incarnate Word?

David Robinson, the former San Antonio Spurs' star, got his masters at UIW.

Jesse Borrego, an actor in the show Dexter, also went to school there. So did Ricardo Antonio Chavira from Desperate Housewives.

You might recall that former Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams landed a coaching job at the San Antonio institution for a brief time. He was a running backs coach for the Cardinal football team.

If you're like me, you never heard of this school. My first knowledge of the place was when I was a sports reporter in Houston. A couple of kids I covered went there.

What do we know about their basketball team?

They were 9-22 last season, a three-game improvement from the previous year.

This version of the Cardinals is led by guard Keaston Willis, who is averaging 20 points per game. The sophomore netted 22 in that loss to Rice. Fellow guard Josh Morris has been doing plenty of damage, too. He is averaging 17 points per outing and hitting 50 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

The Cards are also getting help in the interior from forward Marcus Larsson, who is scoring nine a night and pulling down a team-best 7.5 rebounds.

IWU doesn't shoot a ton of threes. In fact, they've attempted just 24 through two games. Wyoming has put up 60. Those Cardinal guards like to drive the lane and get to the free-throw line.

Sound familiar?

Here is all you need to know about Wednesday's tilt in Laramie:

WHO: Incarnate Word (1-1) at Wyoming (1-1)
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. MST
WEATHER: High of 20, low 4 degrees, sunny, winds at 5-10 mph
WHERE: Arena-Auditorium, Laramie, Wyo.
TV: None
RADIO: Wyoming affiliates
TICKETS: UW Ticket office
ROSTERS: Wyoming / Incarnate Word
VEGAS ODDS: Wyoming -17, O/U 112
HISTORY: First meeting
HEAD COACHES: Jeff Linder / Dr. Carson Cunningham

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