Pokes move to 3-0 on road with 79-66 victory over Titans
* University of Wyoming athletics media relations release
FULLERTON, Calif., -- The number 100 was the theme of the night with guard Hunter Maldonado appearing in his 100th career game and head coach Jeff Linder earning his 100th career win in 79-66 victory on the road at CSU Fullerton on Monday evening in Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif.
The Pokes won their third-straight road game to open the season and are one of 20 undefeated teams left in college basketball.
“I have been blessed to be surrounded by great people,” Linder said. “For our guys to come into a tough place to play against a good team. Our guys handled a different atmosphere, and we had the right mind set and energy. We came out and got the necessary stops. We got the ball in the paint and really shot well.”
Hunter Maldonado was outstanding recording 21 points and adding nine assists. Forward Graham Ike added 17 points and nine boards. He had 14 points in the first half. Guards Xavier DuSell and Drake Jeffries combined for eight three pointers. DuSell had 16 points with Jeffries adding 14.
“I think everybody played well,” Linder said. “Our guys really stuck together and that dunk from Oden was the play that made the difference. Our guys create paint touches and Maldonado and Ike can pick you apart.”
Wyoming dominated the paint in the game with 40 points. UW also had a commanding lead on the boards 37 to 25. Fullerton shot 48 percent from the field, as it was a season-high for a UW opponent. Wyoming shot 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind the arc.
The Pokes raced out to a 7-2 lead thanks to a pair of buckets from Maldonado and Ike. DuSell also added a triple during the early goings of the contest. The Titans would make it a one-point contest at 7-6, but Wyoming went on a 6-0 run for a 13-6 lead with under 14 minutes left in the half.
Maldonado added a basket and then found DuSell in the corner with a fastball of a pass to mark it a 20-9 contest at the 11:21 mark of the half. The Titans would break into the lead of the Pokes using the three-ball, but Jeffries hit the fifth of the game for the Pokes to make it a 31-20 contest with just over five minutes reaming in the first frame.
Guard Brendan Wenzel would push the Wyoming lead to 35-22 with two minutes left in the half and the Pokes would add two buckets late from Jeremiah Oden and Ike to take a 39-26 lead at the break.
Ike went back to work early in the second half with a basket and a free throw later to help build the advantage to 16 points at 44-28. DuSell would add his fourth triple of the game to make it a 47-30 contest with under 17 minutes left in the game.
The Titans would cut the lead to seven points halfway through the second half with a 10-2 run. Then Jalen Harris would hit a three-pointer to make it a four-point game at 53-49 with 9:48 left in the game. Prior to a pair of baskets from Maldonado Wyoming went scoreless for five minutes.
The Maldonado shot would then take place with a basket and two great assists on a layup from Oden and triple from Jeffries for a 60-51 contest, but Harris added a layup seconds later for a 60-53 game with 7:21 remaining in the game.
CSUF would battle back, but the Cowboys grabbed momentum thanks to a slam from Oden, a triple from Jeffries and a jumper from Maldonado to take a 14-point lead at 70-56 with 3:06 left in the game.,
CSUF made it an eight point game at 70-62 with 2:13 remaining, but the Pokies would seal the contest from the free throw line and take the contest, 79-66.
The Titans were led by EJ Anosike with 19 points. Harris added 14 on the night, as that duo went 11-of-16 combined from the field.
Wyoming returns to action on Thursday hosting Front-Range foe Denver at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium in a contest on the MW Network.
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