* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release

LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- The Cowboys couldn’t overcome cold shooting in a 64-57 loss to UNLV on Wednesday evening inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Pokes rallied to take a second half lead, but Wyoming shot 34 percent from the field with the loss dropping the Pokes to 23-7 overall and 12-5 in the MW.

“We did a great job on a short turn around and, we kept Bryce Hamilton in check, but give UNLV credit they stepped up and hit shots,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We have to find a way to finish this thing right. We have to focus on the next game.”

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Wyoming was led by Hunter Maldonado with 22 points. He also added seven assists and 10 rebounds for a double-double for his sixth of the season and 12th of his career. Maldonado passed Sean Dent for the single-season Cowboy record for assists, as he now has 184. Graham Ike added 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Cowboys were 21-of-61 from the field in the contest and went 7-of-26 from behind the arc. The Runnin’ Rebels were held to 38 percent from the field but hit eight threes on the night. UNLV held a 44-36 advantage on the glass.

The Runnin’ Rebels gained the upper hand on the Cowboys with a 5-0 run for an 8-3 lead with 16:41 remaining in the first half. The Pokes responded with a pair of buckets from Ike that made it an 8-7 contest. But UNLV went on a 6-0 run to build a 16-9 lead with 11:40 left in the first half.

UNLV built an 18-10 advantage, but a three-pointer from Hunter Thompson made it a 18-13 contest with 7:04 left in the first frame. But the Runnin’ Rebels with a pair of technical foul free throws. Thompson made it a four-point game at 20-16, but UNLV answered with a triple at the 5:36 mark for a 23-17 contest with just under six minutes left in the frame.

Maldonado came back into the contest after missing time with a poked eye and added a pair of baskets and two free throws to make it a one-point game for UNLV at 23-22 with just over four minutes left in the first stanza. The Pokes would go scoreless for over three minutes as the Runnin’ Rebels took a 30-25 lead, but Drake Jeffries added a four-point play to make it a one-point contest with 37 seconds remaining in the half and that was the score at the break.

UNLV opened the second frame on a 6-2 run to take a 36-31 lead in the opening three minutes of play. But Maldonado added an and-one play for a tie contest at 36-36 with 15:29 left in the game. He would later drive to the hop and give the Pokes a 38-36 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining.

The Pokes would take a 40-37 lead, but a 7-1 run by the Runnin’ Rebels made it a 44-41 game with just over 11 minutes left in the contest. The Pokes would pull within one point, but a triple from Donovan Williams pushed it back to four points at 51-47 with 8:19 remaining in the game.

Brendan Wenzel cut a six-point UNLV lead with a triple at the 6:48 mark for a 53-50 game. But the Rebels would push the lead to six points at 58-50 and held the Pokes scoreless for over four minutes, but Maldonado hit a triple to make it a 58-53 game with 2:21 left in the contest.

But the Pokes could not get any closer, as the Runnin’ Rebels would take the contest 64-57.

UNLV was led by Royce Hamm Jr. with 17 points. Hamilton added 15 points but was held to 3-of-15 from the field.

Wyoming returns home and closes the regular season Saturday against Fresno State at 2 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.

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