Pokes fend off Wolf Pack rally, hold on for 71-64 victory
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowboys held Nevada to 30 percent from the field for a season-low for a UW opponent in a 71-64 win over the Wolf Pack in the Arena-Auditorium on Friday evening in Laramie.
The Pokes held Nevada to 21 points in the first half to improve to 9-5 overall and 3-4 in conference play with Nevada falling to 10-6 overall and 5-4 in conference play.
“I thought our collective effort defensively was a step in the right direction,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We can score the ball, but if you can’t get stops you’re not going to win very many games. Coach (Ken) DeWeese came up with a great game plan defensively. To hold a team like Nevada to 64 points was encouraging. For us to hold them to only 34 percent shooting was a really big step in the right direction for our team.
“We always talk about how are we going to respond in a game and how we have a choice when the game gets tight whether we’re going to battle through or not,” Linder added. “Luckily we’ve been in a lot of close games and, for the most part, we’ve responded well. To have that 20-point lead, lose it and then regain it was big for us. Marcus (Williams) made a huge play at a critical time and at one point we had Graham Ike, Marcus and (Xavier DuSell) on the court -- three true freshmen -- with two sophomores in Kenny (Foster) and Kwane (Marble). For them to not feel sorry for themselves and put together that 9-1 run from the seven-minute mark to the four-minute mark was the difference in the game.”
The Cowboys were led by sophomores Kenny Foster and Kwane Marble each with 15 points. Foster tied a season-high with seven rebounds and has scored in double-figures in six games this season. Marble II has scored in double-figures five games this season. Freshman Xavier DuSell added 14 points, as he knocked down four three pointers on the night. Fellow freshman Marcus Williams added 13 points and has scored in double-figures in every game this season. He also tied for the team high with Junior Hunter Maldonado with five assists.
“Kenny came up with some really big plays,” Linder said. “For all those guys to get on the glass. Kenny had seven rebounds. Maldo (Hunter Maldonado) had five. Marcus had five. Kwane had four, and I thought (Hunter) Thompson, even though he only had six points, I thought he played really well and he grabbed five rebounds.”
Wyoming shot 41 percent from the field for the night and knocked down 12 three-pointers for their ninth game with 10 or more threes. Wyoming leads the conference in three pointers this season.
UW held the Wolf Pack to 16 percent from behind the arc going 4-of-25. In the last two games, the Pokes are holding opponents to 14 percent. Nevada held a 43-38 advantage on the glass and the two teams combined for 32 points off turnovers.
Foster got the Pokes off to a 5-0 start with a layup and three ball in the first two possessions of the game for the Brown and Gold. But the Wolf Pack responded with a pair of baskets to make it a 5-4 contest two minutes into the game.
Nevada added five more points to cap a 9-0 run for a 9-5 advantage, as the run cut off by a three from Marble II for a 9-8 game with 14:06 remaining in the first half. Thompson added a three pointer a minute later to regain the lead for the Pokes at 11-9.
Maldonado extended the Pokes lead to six points at 17-11 with a running hook shot with 8:58 left in the opening frame and Williams followed with a basket to cap a 14-2 Wyoming run.
Wyoming held the Wolf Pack to 1-of-7 shooting for a stretch along with three turnovers and built a 10 point lead at 25-15 on a DuSell triple with 3:46 in the first half.
The Cowboys would take a 33-21 lead into the half holding the Wolf Pack to 30 percent from the field, as it was a season-low for Wyoming opponent in the opening 20 minutes. Wyoming knocked down eight three points in the first frame.
Just like the opening of the first half the Pokes used a 5-0 run and built a 38-21 lead thanks to a pair of free throws from Marble II and a triple from Maldonado. Foster added to the run with a three pointer to build the lead to 20 points with 17:41 left to play.
Wyoming went scoreless for nearly four minutes, as Nevada cut the Wyoming lead to 41-27 with 14 minutes left. Nevada would cut the lead to 10 points at 44-34 at the 12:24 mark with a three pointer from Desmond Cambridge, Jr.
Nevada went on a 10-0 run over two minutes to make a 44-41 game in favor of the Pokes with 10:26 left in the contest, as a pair of threes led the surge for the Wolf Pack. Nevada took the lead on a dunk from Warren Washington for a 49-48 game at the 7:20 mark.
After a dunk from Williams to take a brief lead, Foster would add a three pointer a minute later along with a pair of free throws for a 55-50 lead for the Pokes with 5:21 remaining. Marble added a layup off a dish from Williams for a seven point lead 30 seconds later.
Wyoming would push the lead 10 points at 63-53 on a DuSell three pointer with 2:47 remaining in the game. Nevada would go on a 5-0 run for a 63-58 game. Williams added a pair of free throws to make it a seven point game with roughly 90 seconds remaining.
Williams would knock down free throws for the Pokes late to seal the 71-64 win.
The Wolf Pack were led by Warren Washington with 21 points, as he also tied for the team lead with nine rebounds. Cambridge added 16 points for Nevada. The Pokes held Nevada’s leading scorer Grant Sherfield to 10 points below his season average.
Wyoming and Nevada will wrap up their series on Sunday with a 2 p.m. start on CBS Sports Network.