Pokes Drop Non-Conference Finale to Saint Mary’s, 66-54
* University of Wyoming press release
PHOENIX -- The Wyoming Cowboys fell short in a 66-54 loss to Saint Mary’s on Wednesday evening in the Footprint Center in the Jerry Coangelo Classic presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Pokes (5-7) were held to only three three-point makes on the night and the Gaels grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the contest.
“We have been in that situation in our losses where it has been a one and two score game and it is hard,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We were right there, and we gave up extra possessions. We can build off that. We will regroup and get ready for conference play. We just have to keep pushing forward."
The Pokes were led Noah Reynolds with 21 points on the night for his fifth-straight game this season with 20 or more points. He was 8-of-13 from the field in the contest. Ethan Anderson added a career-high eight rebounds and had six points.
Wyoming shot 50 percent from the field on the night with the Gaels shooting 42 percent. SMC held a 34-28 advantage on the glass and forced 19 turnovers, as Wyoming came into the contest with under 10 miscues in three-straight games.
Hunter Maldonado would score on a layup the Pokes first trip down the floor and the Pokes and Gaels would then go scoreless until a bucket from GMC at the 17:47 mark of the first frame. Hunter Thompson would hit a three-pointer at the 17:16 mark making it a 5-2 game, but the Gaels tied the contest seconds later.
The Pokes would go scoreless for over two minutes, as the Gaels took a 9-5 advantage five minutes into the frame. After Reynolds stopped the drought, Saint Mary’s added four buckets and a pair of free throws to take a 20-7 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.
Jeremiah Oden and Caden Powell added baskets and made it a 20-11 contest for the Gaels with 11 minutes left in the opening stanza. Anderson added a basket a minute later to cap a 6-0 run for a 20-13 contest. But Saint Mary’s added a pair of baskets for an 11-point advantage at 24-13 near the nine-minute mark of the half.
Saint Mary’s used the offensive glass to take a 14-point lead at 31-17 with five minutes left in the half. The Pokes would hold the Gaels scoreless for nearly three minutes to make it a 33-34 game thanks to a three from Reynolds. The Gaels added a free throw and took a 34-24 lead into the half.
Brendan Wenzel opened the second half with a triple for a 34-27 Gael lead and Hunter Thompson made it a five points game ninety seconds into the half. Maldonado made it a four-point game with a layup at 35-31 with 16:52 left.
The Pokes would make it a four-point game and the Gaels made it a six-point game until a free throw from Oden mad it a 39-36 game for SMC with 13-minute left in the contest. Saint Mary’s would push the lead to five until a fast break bucket from Reynolds made it a 43-40 game halfway through the frame, SMC’s Logan Johnson hit his tenth basket of the game for a 46-40 lead.
The Gaels would make it an eight-point game with under nine minutes left hitting three-straight shots. The lead would be pushed to 11 points on a triple for a 53-43 contest with 8:01 left in the game. The lead was pushed to 15 points at 57-42 after a 9-0 run by the Gaels.
Wyoming hit a bucket and added a pair of free throws from Jake Kyman for a 11-point game at 57-46, but the Gaels would add two baskets and a triple for a 64-46 game with five minutes left. The Pokes would make three-straight field goals and for a 64-50 game with under three minutes left. Wenzel made it a 12-point game at 64-52 with 78 seconds left and the Pokes would later make it a 10-point game, but UW would fall in the end by a score of 66-54.
The Gaels were led by Johnson with 28 points going 12-of-22 from the field. Mitchell Saxen added 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Cowboys begin Mountain West Conference play next week. Wyoming travels to Fresno State on Wednesday for a 9 p.m. contest inside the Save Mart Center.