Pokes suffocate Nevada in 74-61 victory
* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release
LARAMIE -- The Cowboys only trailed for 10 seconds and controlled the contest the rest of the way in a 74-61 win over Nevada on Saturday evening in the Arena-Auditorium.
Wyoming is 13-0 at home this season and have won 14-straight dating back to last season for the longest home winning streak in Mountain West era of Cowboy basketball.
Wyoming moves to 23-5 overall and 12-3 in conference play.
“To be honest, it started at shootaround today,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We had some special guests at shootaround. We always talk about paying respect to the Brown and Gold and showing respect to the great players who played here before. It’s one reason I came here, knowing the great history here at Wyoming and the great players who came here before.”
Linder is referring to the 1981-82 team led by Bill Garnett.
Graham Ike led the Pokes with 23 points and 15 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. He was 8-of-15 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
Hunter Maldonado added 22 points with nine rebounds. He added six assists and is now second all-time at Wyoming with 472 helpers passing Brandon Ewing. He also moved into the top-10 in scoring at Wyoming and is ninth all-time at UW.
Jeremiah Oden added 10 points for his 11th game in double-figures.
The Pokes shot 43 percent from the field and 32 percent from behind the arc hitting nine three pointers on the night. Wyoming held Nevada to 37 percent from the field, as Wyoming has held opponents to under 40 percent for the 13th time this season. Wyoming held a 40-36 advantage on the glass for the contest and added 13 second chance points.
“Our guys are really connected, and we’ve been stressing to them that everyone needs to strive to do everything a little bit better,” Linder said. "There are certain things our guys know they have to do to finish things off right this year. We hold them accountable, as coaches, and our players know to win a championship the defensive end is where it starts. To hold a team (Nevada) that is one of the best offensive teams in the country to only 37 percent shooting was big for us tonight.”
After Nevada opened the contest with a bucket, Wyoming went on an 10-0 run with triples from Xavier DuSell and Drake Jeffries and buckets from Maldonado and Ike. Desmond Cambridge ended the Pokes run with a three to make it a 10-5 game with 16:35 left in the first frame.
The Pokes would go on a 5-0 run with a triple from Oden and bucket from Ike to make it a 15-5 game at the 14:17 mark of the first frame. Maldonado went on a 5-0 run himself and gave the Pokes a 20-7 lead with 12:39 remaining in the first frame.
Another 5-0 run with a bucket from DuSell and triple from Maldonado made it a 25-10 game for the Pokes halfway through the half. Noah Reynolds would hit a three-pointer off the dish from Ike to push the lead to 28-12 a minute later.
The Wolf Pack would take the lead down to 11 points, but Ike would push it back to 15 at 32-17 with 6:38 left in the half. The Pokes would go scoreless for over two and a half minutes until Jeffries added a layup to make it a 35-21 game at the four-minute mark of the half.
Nevada’s Tre Coleman recorded an and-one play to make it a 35-24 game with just under three minutes left in the half. Ike would hit four-straight free throws to give Wyoming a 39-24 lead with just under two minutes left in the half. Ike later added a and-one play and the Pokes took a 42-26 lead into the half.
Oden and Ike added buckets early in the second frame to give Wyoming a 46-26 advantage ninety seconds into the frame. But the Wolf Pack went on a 9-0 run over 1:21 to make it a 46-35 game with 16:41 left in the game. But the Pokes responded with a 5-0 run with an Ike bucket and Oden three pointer.
Ike would later hit a pair of buckets and help the Pokes take an 18-point lead at 55-37 with just under 14 minutes remaining, as Ike surpassed 20-point mark. Jeffries would add a triple for a 17-point game at 58-41 at the 12:15 mark of the half. But the Wolf Pack would make it a 12-point contest halfway through the half.
Maldonado added a free throw and a bucket to make it a 66-50 game with just over seven minutes remaining in the contest. Kenan Blackshear added a pair of buckets and a pair of free throws from Daniel Foster made it a 10-point game for UW at 66-56 with 5:41 remaining.
Maldonado would make it a 13-point game, but the Wolf Pack battled back. The Pokes would ice the contest with a Maldonado slam and DuSell added a triple as Wyoming would take the game 74-61.
Nevada was led by Cambridge and Grant Sherfield with 12 points each. Sherfield, the top assist man in the Mountain West, had five in the contest.
Wyoming remains at home, playing host to San Diego State on Monday at 7 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.