Pokes jump out to 21-0 lead, hold on late against New Mexico
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., -- The Wyoming Cowboys opened the contest on a 21-0 run on their way to a 79-67 win over New Mexico on Friday evening inside Clune Arena in Colorado Springs.
It marked the second series sweep for the Pokes this season and the first season sweep of a series against the Lobos since the 2003 season. New Mexico battled to within two points late in the second half, but were held without a field goal for nearly four minutes to close the game.
“,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “Down the stretch we got stops when we needed then and Kwane (Marble II) made some big plays late. We found a way to win the game. They have some tough match ups that makes us smaller, but down the stretch we forced them into hard shots. It was a great collective effort overall tonight by our players.”
The Pokes were paced by junior Hunter Maldonado, as he added 14 points for his 15th game in double figures this season and the 54th time in 91 career contests. He also added a career-high 16 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and sixth of his career.
Marcus Williams added 15 points for his 19th game in double figures this season. Marble II added 15 points for his 11th game in double figures matching his total from last season. Freshman Graham Ike added 10 points for his fourth game in double figures.
Wyoming shot 48 percent from the field with the Lobos shooting 45 percent. Wyoming hit nine three-pointers and held the Lobos to only nine attempts and three triples on the night. The two teams combined for 34 turnovers.
“We expected the pressure tonight and they really sped us up,” Linder said. “With a younger team, it is a fine line to tell the players to attack or hold it. Sometimes momentum is a funny thing and we didn’t want to get on our heels. Marcus (Williams) did a great job breaking the press himself late and he and Graham made some winning plays for us.”
The Pokes got off to a 21-0 run in the opening six-plus minutes, as Wyoming started 8-of-11 from the field. Six different Cowboys scored to open the game, as Wyoming also added three triples in the opening minutes of the contest.
The Lobos scored on a layup with 13:38 left in the opening frame, as UNM opened the game 1-of-9 from the field. The Pokes would maintain a 20-point advantage halfway through the half with yet another highlight reel slam this time an alley-oop from freshman Jeremiah Oden on a pass from Williams.
Wyoming would push their lead to 27 points with 7:20 remaining in the frame. All eight available scholarship players added points to that point of the contest. The Lobos would make it a 36-14 game with Makuach Malauach getting to double figures with 4:13 left in the half.
The Lobos would cut the Wyoming lead to 14 points at 38-24, but Drake Jeffries closed the half like he did on Thursday with a bucket this time from behind the arc to make it a 41-24 contest for Wyoming at the break. Wyoming shot 50 percent from the field in the half with the Lobos shooting 37 percent.
The Lobos would once again make it a 14-point contest in the early goings of the second half, but the Pokes would push the lead back to 21 points with threes from Jeffries and Xavier Dusell for a 55-34 game with 14:24 remaining.
But the Lobos went on an 8-0 run to make it a 13-point contest at 55-42 at the 12:44 mark of the frame and would move the deficit to 11 points a minute later. The Lobos made 6-of-7 field-goal attempts during the run.
New Mexico’s Maluach made it an eight-point game and went Wyoming lead went down to as little as six points at 59-53 with 8:30 left in the game. He would then make it a five-point contest at 63-58 with 6:44 remaining.
Wyoming would not record a field goal for over three minutes with Lobos making it a two-point contest at 67-65 at the 3:49 mark of the second stanza. The run stopped for the Pokes with a triple from Marble II to push the lead back to five seconds later. Marble II made it a seven-point game at 72-65 2:50 left.
Marble II would help maintain the Wyoming advantage and push it to 10 points at 77-67 with under a minute remaining. Wyoming would take the contest
The Lobos were led by Maluach with a career-high 30 points. He was 11-of-19 from the field for the night.
Wyoming hosts San Jose State in the Arena-Auditorium on Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
* University of Wyoming press release