Seniors Go Out in Style in 80-71 Upset of Nevada
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- In what was the last game in the Arena-Auditorium for Hunter Thompson and Hunter Maldonado, the sixth-year seniors left it all out on the floor once again each recording a double-double in an 80-71 win over Nevada on Monday evening.
The duo was assisted by a career-high 28 points form Jeremiah Oden, which included 21 points in a second half, as Wyoming close the contest on a 18-9 run in the closing five minutes of play.
“It was a collective effort and not just from the guys in that locker room. For the fans to come out on a Monday night, which isn’t always easy, and the weather cooperated -- I just want to thank all the fans who came out and supported the two Hunters (Maldonado and Thompson),” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “They deserved to go out this way. They are both a dying breed -- one because they’re sixth-year seniors and another because they left a legacy here. They’ll be able to walk back into a game here in the future and people are going to say ‘Hey there’s Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson. Remember the NCAA Tournament that they led us to? Remember that game against Nevada on Senior Night?' For us to send those guys off that way through all the adversity we’ve had and all the craziness this week with my deal (ill father), I can’t think of a better way to send those guys out.”
It marked the first time the Pokes have had two players record a double-double in the same game since Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike did so against San Diego State 364 days ago on Feb. 28, 2022. Maldonado had 25 points and 11 rebounds and became the all-time leader in assists in Mountain West history now sitting at 625. He also passed Jimmer Fredette for second in conference history with 1,200 points in MW contests. He also added nine rebounds nearly missing a triple double. Thompson added a career-high 13 rebounds in the contest along with 10 points.
Oden was 7-of-9 from the field in just the second half and added four dunks in the contest. He finished the game 9-of-13 from the field, 3-of-3 from behind the arc and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Xavier DuSell added 11 points and hit a trio of threes in the game and moved to eighth in career triples at UW tying Reggie Fox.
“I told the guys in the locker room before the game that the way you honor these seniors is to go out and play as hard as you possibly can -- and they all did,” Linder said. “(Brendan) Wenzel fought. X (Xavier DuSell) is guarding one of the toughest players in the league to guard in Jarod Lucas. JO (Jeremiah Oden) has a career night. It was a collective effort. I’m just so happy that our guys were able to win the last game at home in that way. It’s been a trying season, some trying times, but at the end of the day I’m just thankful for those guys who are still in our locker room.”
The Cowboys shot 49 percent from the field in the contest and held the Wolf Pack to 41 percent on the field. Wyoming was 10-of-23 from behind the arc for 44 percent and held Nevada to 7-of-21 for 33 percent. Wyoming shot 86 percent from the free throw line and were 24-of-28. The Pokes dominated the glass with a 37-27 advantage on the night.
Nevada opened the contest on a 7-0 run over the opening two minutes of the game. DuSell hit a three-pointer to end the early run by the Wolf Pack. Thompson and Jeremiah Oden added five-straight points to make it a 10-8 game in favor of the Wolf Pack with 16:14 left in the first half.
DuSell added his second triple of the game and gave Wyoming a 13-12 lead, but Nevada added a pair of threes to build a 18-13 lead and later a 21-15 lead with 13:08 left in the opening frame. The Pokes would go scoreless and record turnovers with the Wolf Pack taking a 23-17 lead.
Maldonado helped push the Pokes to a two-point deficit at 27-25 with 7:04 left in the first half, as he would get into double-figures. The Pokes fueled by Maldonado getting the Mountain West assists record tied the game with a pair of threes for a 33-33 contest.
The Pokes went scoreless for over three minutes and the Wolf Pack took a 37-33 lead with just over a minute left in the first half. Wenzel added a three-pointer and Thompson and Oden added free throws to give Wyoming a 40-37 lead at the half.
Oden gave the Pokes a six-point lead at 43-37 to open the second half. The Wolf Pack cut the lead to two-points, but a three from DuSell made it a 48-43 game with 16:58 left in the game. Nevada went on a 10-0 run over a minute and took a 53-48 lead on the Cowboys.
Both teams would go scoreless for over two minutes, but the Wolf Pack would take a 54-50 lead with a technical free throw with 12:01 left. Maldonado followed that with a pair of free throws for a 54-52 contest.
Oden would give the Pokes a 57-56 lead with a thunderous and-one slam with 9:23 left in the contest. The Wolf Pack added back-to-back buckets and took a 60-57 lead with seven minutes left on the clock. Maldonado tied the contest at 62-62 on a spin-o-rama with 5:41 left in the game.
Oden gave the Cowboys a 64-62 lead and Thompson added a three-pointer for a 67-62 lead with 3:33 left. Maldonado gave Wyoming a seven-point lead that was cut to five by the Wolf Pack with 2:28 remaining.
Oden would add a triple, the tenth of the game for the Cowboys for a 72-64 lead with 2:03 left in the game. The lead would nine points twice, but the Wolf Pack made it a seven points game with 63 seconds left.
Maldonado made it nine points again and a late slam by Oden put an exclamation point on the contest with a windmill dunk that gave Wyoming the 80-71 win.
Nevada was led by Tre Coleman with 22 points, as he was 8-of-12 from the field. Jarod Lucas added 24 points in the contest.
The Cowboys return to action on Saturday heading to No. 18 San Diego State to take in an 8 p.m. start on CBS Sports Network.