Defensive effort doesn’t lead to Cowboy win/Cowgirls play tonight

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University of Wyoming photo

February 9, 2023 — A short-handed Wyoming Cowboys basketball team put on one of their best defensive efforts of the season but still dropped a 69-59 decision to UNLV on Wednesday night in Laramie. The Pokes held the Runnin’ Rebels to a season-low 33 percent shooting.

The loss dropped the Pokes to 2-9 in the Mountain West and 7-16 overall. UNLV improved to 5-7 in the conference and 16-8 on the season.

The Cowboys played the contest without leading scorer Noah Reynolds who is out for the rest of the season after suffering his third concussion. Also, yesterday it was announced that transfers Max Agbonkpolo, Ethan Anderson, and Jake Kyman are no longer with the Cowboy basketball program. No reason was given for their leaving the team.

“When you see a team connected like we were tonight and play a game against a good team (UNLV), who had been playing really well other than a little blip against Fresno (State), we were right there in spite of the fact we didn’t shoot the ball well,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “When you guard and hold a team to 33 percent for the game, it’s going to give you a chance to win wherever you’re playing.”

A low-scoring first half ended with UNLV holding a 25-24 lead. Wyoming held the Runnin’ Rebels to just 25 percent from the field, while UW shot 36 percent.

Things started well for the Pokes in the second half. Hunter Maldonado gave UW an early lead at 26-24 with a layup. Hunter Thompson would later hit a three-pointer in the corner, and Maldonado hit a pair of free throws for a 33-29 Cowboy lead. But the Runnin’ Rebels hit a trio of threes to take a 38-33 lead with 15:52 left in the contest. The Pokes would then go without a field goal for over four minutes allowing UNLV to increase their lead to 46-35 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.

The Pokes weren’t done, though. Wyoming’s Brendan Wenzel hit a corner three-pointer to cut the lead to 52-49 game with 7:54 remaining. But UNLV used the free throw line and built a 58-50 lead with five and a half minutes left in the contest. The Rebels added another triple to up the score to 61-50 with 4:34 remaining.

Maldonado led the Cowboys in scoring with 17 points, his hundredth career game scoring in double figures. He now has 2,004 career points. He also added seven rebounds and three assists. Wenzel added 11 points

The Cowboys now travel to Boise State (8-3, 18-6) this Saturday evening.  

Cowgirls Play Tonight

Tonight, the Cowgirl basketball team will host Utah State. Broadcast time is at 6 p.m. with tip-off at 6:30 on WyoRadio’s 1360/103.5 KRKK and at 1360KRKK.com.  

The Cowgirls enter the contest tied for second place in the Mountain West at 8-4. Utah State is 1-11 in the conference and 4-19 on the year. The Cowgirls won the year’s first meeting 64-52 in Laramie.