Cowboys First Half Charge Turns Into A Second Half Fade, Northern Colorado Prevails

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Nick Seeman/Wyoming Athletic Department

LARAMIE – Despite shooting a season-high 60 percent in the opening frame, the Wyoming Cowboys could not overcome the three-point shooting of Northern Colorado in a 74-53 loss on Saturday evening in the Arena-Auditorium.

“What I shared with the team after the game and at halftime was being executers of the game plan,” Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. “We knew they shoot the three ball a lot and we wanted to limit their attempts, but they got up some shots. We shot well in the first half and we attacked the rim, but in the second half early turnovers made it a quick momentum shift and we played from behind.”

The Pokes were led in scoring by redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado at 17 points. He has scored in double-figures in every game this season and in 17 of his last 19 games dating back to last season. Senior A.J. Banks added eight points for the Pokes along with three rebounds. Sophomore Hunter Thompson added seven points and led the team with eight rebounds.

The Cowboys shot 44.4 percent from the field for the night. The Bears countered at 47.3 percent and knocked in 11 threes. UNC came into the game ranking second in the nation in threes per game.

A balanced attack early by the Pokes saw Wyoming build a 9-8 lead thanks to back-to-back buckets by Taylor. The Bears, one of the nation’s top three point shooting teams hit a pair of three pointers early.

The Pokes would shoot 67 percent from the field and take a 17-15 lead with 11:45 left in the first frame. Mueller added six-straight points for the Pokes in the tightly contested opening eight minutes.

The Bears would hit their fourth three of the half to build the largest lead of the game to that point at four for 27-23 with under six minutes left. Northern Colorado would build the advantage to six points and hit a buzzer beating shot to take that lead into the half 40-34.

The Pokes shot 60 percent from the field in the first half for the highest in the opening frame this season, as the 24 points was also a season-high in the opening half this season.

The Bears opened the first half on a 7-2 run to make it a 47-36 game three minutes into the second half. Thompson would pull the Pokes within single digits on two occasions, but the three ball would lift the lead back for the Bears. Trent Harris hit a triple and got fouled missing the shot to make it a 59-46 game with 11:10 remaining.

The Bears would hold the advantage and held the Pokes to 1-of-8 from the field in the final five minutes of the frame to take the 74-53 win for their third-straight win over the Cowboys.

The Bears were led in scoring by Jonah Radebaugh at 24 points. Harris, a three point specialist, added 12 points for the Bears connecting on four triples for the night.

TEAM NOTES

•The Cowboys and Bears met for the 76th time.

•The Cowboys lost to the Bears for the 22nd time, the 10th time in 43 games in Laramie.

•The Cowboys recorded 34 points in the first half for a season-high in the opening frame this season. 

•The Cowboys shot 60 percent in the first half for a season-high in the opening frame this season.

•The Cowboys 60 percent from the field was the best in a half since shooting 61 percent against Utah  State in the first half on Feb. 13, 2019. 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

•Redshirt sophomore Austin Mueller recorded six points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting. It was a season-high.

•Mueller’s six points was the most since scoring eight points against Oregon State last season on the road on  Nov. 10. 

•Redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado added 17 points for his 11 game in double-figures this season.

•Senior A.J. Banks added eight points for second on the Cowboys. Banks has scored 23 points over the last two games.

•Sophomore Hunter Thompson added seven points, all of which came in the second frame. Thompson led the Pokes with eight rebounds for the third game leading the Pokes on the boards this  season. 

THE FINAL WORD

“We got caught in a lot of scenarios where we did not make the right plays tonight. “Once it started going in for them it just started going in. We didn’t do a great job keeping the ball in front of us  tonight.”

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