• Pokes held leads in first and second half
The Wyoming Cowboys fell short in a battle with San Diego State on Tuesday evening falling to the Aztecs 81-65 in Viejas Arena. The Pokes led in both the first and second half but scoring droughts in both frames were too much to overcome against an SDSU team that is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll.
“A lot of good things to takeaway, but no moral victories, UW Head Coach Jeff Linder said. We have a lot of good things to take away from this, but we are getting better. Overall, we put ourselves in position, but they got into the paint in the second half. We will learn from this one and turn around and get ready for the Border War on Saturday.”
Wyoming falls to 10-9 overall and 3-3 in conference play with the Aztecs moving to 16-4 and 5-2 in the conference. It is the second of three-straight games for the Cowboys against team either receiving votes or currently ranked.
The Pokes were led by Sam Griffin with 22 points for his ninth game of 20 or more points this season. The reigning MW Player of the Week added five three pointers in the contest and has nine in his last two games. Akuel Kot added 16 points on the night and has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season. Mason Walters added a season-high points for his seventh game in double figures this season. Brendan Wenzel led the Cowboys with eight rebounds in the game.
Wyoming shot 40 percent from the field but struggled in the second half after shooting 46 percent in the first frame. The Aztecs shot 49 percent from the field and 67 percent in the second half. The Pokes dominated the glass with a 39-39 advantage. SDSU forced 15 turnovers and turned it into 19 points.
The Aztecs used the three-ball from to build an early 11-4 lead in the opening three minutes, but the Pokes responded with an 8-0 run with triples from Kot and Griffin to take a 12-11 lead with 13:34 left in the first half.
Both teams would go back-and-forth holding a one-point lead until the Aztecs took a brief two-point lead that was halted by a Walters layup for an 18-18 contest 9:55 left in the opening half. The Pokes would battle back thanks to Walters getting to double figures for a 24-23 lead with eight minutes left in the frame.
After the Aztecs took a brief three-point lead, Kot and Griffin added back-to-back three pointers for a 30-27 lead near the five-minute mark of the stanza. Griffin capped the 8-0 run with a jumper for a 32-27 lead.
The Aztecs would hold the Pokes scoreless over four minutes to close the first half to take a 34-32 lead intro the break. The Pokes shoot 46 percent from the floor in the first frame hand and held the Aztecs to 37 percent.
The Pokes used a trio of three pointers with one from Kot and two from Griffin to take a 41-36 lead in the early goings of the second half. But turnovers led to a 9-0 SDSU run to take a 45-41 advantage with 15:45 left in the contest.
The Aztecs built the lead to 50-43 holding the Pokes without a field goal for four minutes, but a Kot jumper made it a 50-45 game with 13 minutes left. A minute later an and-one from Darrion Trammell made it a 10-point game at 55-45.
SDSU would later use a 7-0 run for a 64-49 lead with under eight minutes left. Wyoming would cut it to 12 points and the Aztecs used another scoring surge and used that to take the contest 81-65
The Aztecs were led by Lamont Butler with 23 points on the night. Jaedon LeDee, the leading scorer in the MW added 17 points.
The Cowboys return to action on Saturday hosting No .24 Colorado State in the first edition of the Border War set for a 2 p.m. start.