Wyoming’s late comeback effort falls short in 76-72 loss
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowboys nearly erased a 12-point deficit in the final minutes coming within a basket, but Southeastern Louisiana held on for 76-72 win to drop the Pokes to 2-1 overall on the season. Wyoming struggled from the field on the afternoon shooting 31 percent.
“Missing shots is not what determines how you win games,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “If you’re a really good team, a lot like we were last year when we went to play Washington, we shot about 36 percent but we found a way to win the game because we sat down and guarded them. You can’t let any team come into your home court and shoot 48 percent from the three like Southeastern Louisiana did today. It’s unfortunate. They played zone against us and, while we got open looks, sometimes that’s what happens -- you miss shots. But if you turn around and hold them to 42 percent, as opposed to 48, even with missing all those shots you find a way to win that game.”
The Cowboys were 13-of-42 from beyond the arc in the contest for 31 percent. Southeastern Louisiana shot 48 percent from the field and beyond the arc in the contest. Wyoming held the advantage on the glass 41-35 including 17 offensive rebounds.
The Cowboys had four players score in double-figures in the contest led by Hunter Maldonado with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and the 13th of his career. Brendan Wenzel led the team with 16 points adding four three pointers. Noah Reynolds added 14 points in the contest tying a career-high along with five rebounds. Max Agbonkpolo chipped in with 10 points for his third-game in double-figures to start his career with Wyoming.
The Pokes struggled offensively early, but threes from Wenzel and Hunter Thompson gave the Cowboys a 6-5 lead in the opening three and a half minutes. The Lions would then go on a 9-0 run over ninety seconds to take. A 14-6 lead over the Pokes.
The Cowboys would get three-straight buckets over 40 seconds to make it a 19-19 game with 11 minutes left in the half. Ethan Anderson led the way with five points and Thompson added his second three-pointer of the game. But the Lions went on a 7-0 run over 1:15 to take a 26-19 lead with 8:54 remaining in the first half.
Wyoming went without a field goal for nearly four minutes until Agbonkpolo hit a three-pointer for a 28-24 game for SELA with 6:31 left in the opening frame. Wenzel added a triple for Wyoming to make it a one-point game with just over five minutes left in the opening stanza. Agbonkpolo added an alley-oop transition slam and Reynolds added a three-pointer for a 32-28 lead to cap an 11-0 run.
The Lions would go on another 8-0 run and take a 36-32 lead with three minutes left in the half. The Cowboys would cut the deficit to one point, but turnovers haunted the Brown and Gold over the final minutes until a three from Reynolds tied the contest at 38-38 at the half.
The Pokes went scoreless for the first two minutes of the second half until Anderson found the basket for a 42-40 game in favor of the Lions. Christian Agnew added an and-one play to make it six-point game and the lead was later pushed to eight at 51-43. But a bucket from Kenny Foster and three from Wenzel made it a 51-48 contest in favor of the Lions with just over 14 minutes remaining.
Wyoming held the Lions scoreless for 2:30 and Maldonado added a bucket and pair of free throws for a 52-51 lead, but another three from Southeastern gave them a 54-52 lead with just over 12 minutes left. The lead was extended to five points a minute later.
The Cowboys went scoreless for three-minutes and the Lions would push the lead to nine points at 63-54 under six minutes remaining. The end was halted by a pair of free throws from Maldonado, but a three-pointer from Southeastern made it a 10-point game at 66-56 with 4:40 left in the contest.
The Lions pushed the lead to 12 points at 70-58 with under four minutes left. Wenzel added another three pointer for a 70-61 game with 3:17 remaining. SELA hit a free throw, but a pair of technical free throws from Reynolds and two freebies from Agbonkpolo made it a 71-65 game with 2:25 left.
Maldonado added two more free throws for a 71-67 game with 1:45 remaining. The team traded three-pointers and the SELA lead was still four points at 74-70 with 51 seconds remaining. Wyoming would then force a turnover and get to the line for two freebies from Wenzel for a 74-72 game with 32 seconds remaining.
After a pair of free throws by SELA made it a four-point game and that is all the closer Wyoming would get, falling 76-72.
The Lions were led by Christian Agnew with 15 points on the night. He was 5-of-9 from the field. Donte Houston, Jr. added 13 points on the afternoon.
The Cowboys return to action next Friday at 2:15 p.m. at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a contest against Howard on ESPN3.
10 Reasons Why You're Lucky to Be Living in Wyoming
- 10 Reasons Why You're Lucky to Be Living in Wyoming,