• Pokes have four players in double-figures
The Wyoming Cowboys dropped an 85-68 contest to one of the Mountain West’s hottest offensive teams in Boise State on Saturday evening in a late-night contest in the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. It marked the third-straight game against an opponent ranking in the top-25 in the NCAA NET rankings.
“They are a good team and that is a good program (Boise State),” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “I was there for the first six years and now they’re 13 years in. I remember the first few years there we had to go through some tough times to build a program. That is where we’re at right now. We’re battling but sometimes you can only control what you can control. Between the injuries and the illnesses, it’s really hard and it’s really hard on our guys.”
The Pokes shot 44 percent from the field on the night and 37 percent from behind the arc going 7-of-19. Boise State shot 49 percent from the field and knocked down 12 three-pointers on the night. Boise State outrebounded the Pokes 42-33 on the night.
“Give them (Boise State) credit,” Linder said. “They’re a team that doesn’t necessarily shoot the ball great all the time, but they found a way to win, and they had guys step up and make shots tonight. When you have an experienced team like Boise State, who knows who they are and doesn’t make mistakes, you can win a lot of games. It is something that we can learn from.”
The Cowboys remained shorthanded using their 12th different starting lineup this season for the second most in the NCAA but did welcome back leading scorer Noah Reynolds. He added 13 points to lead the Cowboys. Hunter Maldonado added 12 points and added four points. Xavier DuSell added 11 points for his third-straight game in double-figures. Jeremiah Oden added 11 points for his fourth-straight -game in double-figures. Ethan Anderson added 11 points as well and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Reynolds opened the game with a one-handed slam and Wyoming defense held the Broncos scoreless for the first 105 seconds of the contest. Boise State then went on a 7-2 run to take the lead. Maldonado and Reynolds would add baskets for a 7-6 game, but Naje Smith hit a triple for a 10-6 game at the 15:46 mark.
The Pokes would cut it to one-point at 10-9, but Smith hit another triple for a 13-9 game with 13:22 left in the opening stanza. Wyoming would go scoreless for three minutes, as the Broncos built a 17-9 lead that was halted by a Maldonado triple for a 17-12 game with under 11 minutes left.
DuSell added his first three-pointer of the game for a 17-15 Boise State lead, but Max Rice and Marcus Shaver, Jr. helped build the lead back to nine at 24-15 with just over eight minutes left in the half. The Broncos would maintain the advantage using the paint for an eight-point lead with five minutes left.
The Broncos built the lead to 10-points at 35-25 with two and a half minutes left in the first half. DuSell hit a pair of three-pointers for a 39-33 lead by the broncos with under a minute left in the half, but the Broncos added a bucket for a 41-33 lead into the half.
The Broncos opened the second half on a 9-2 run to take a 50-35 lead in the opening two minutes of the frame. Nate Barnhart would hit his first career three-pointer for a 54-41 game with 15:23 left in the game. Chibuzo Agbo helped the Broncos build the lead to 18 points with under 15 minutes left in the contest.
Reynolds would push the Pokes within 16 points, but Smith once again hit a triple along with Agbo for a 69-47 lead halfway through the half. The Cowboys would hold the Broncos without a bucket for over three-minutes but could only make it a 70-52 contest.
The Pokes would hit 5-of-7 shots from the field, but the Broncos would still enjoy an 85-63 lead in the closing minutes and would take the first meeting of the season by a mark of 85-68.
Boise State was led by Smith and Agbo with 18 points each. Agbo led all players in the contest with nine rebounds. He was also 4-of-8 from the field on the night.
The Cowboys hit the road and have a quick turnaround. Wyoming travels to Air Force for a Tuesday night game at 7 p.m. inside Clune Arena.