Wyoming

Late Comeback Effort by Wyoming Falls Short Against Southeastern Louisiana, 76-72

CHEYENNE, Wyoming (press release) — The Wyoming Cowboys almost came back from a 12-point deficit in the final few minutes when they came up with a basket, but Southeastern Louisiana held on to the 76-72 win to stall the pokes in the season to bring 2:1. Wyoming fought its way 31 percent out of the field with gunfights in the afternoon.

“Missing shots doesn’t determine how you win games,” said UW head coach Jeff Linder. “If you’re a really good team, similar to last year when we played Washington, we shot like 36 percent, but we found a way to win the game because we sat down and guarded them. You can’t have a team come into your home court and shoot 48 percent of the three like Southeastern Louisiana did today. It’s unfortunate. They played zone against us and even though we got candid looks, sometimes that’s what happens – they miss shots. But if you turn around and keep it at 42 percent as opposed to 48, even with all those misses, you’ll find a way to win this game.

The Cowboys were 13 of 42 from across the arc in the competition, down 31 percent. Southeastern Louisiana shot 48 percent from field and over the arc in the contest. Wyoming held the advantage on the glass 41-35, including 17 offensive rebounds.

The Cowboys had four players who scored in double figures in the Hunter Maldonado-led competition, with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and 13th of his career. Brendan Wenzel led the team with 16 points and added four threes. Noah Reynolds added 14 points in the contest, tying for a career-high along with five rebounds. Max Agbonkpolo added 10 double-digit points for his third game to start his Wyoming career.

The Pokes struggled offensively early on, but threes from Wenzel and Thompson gave the Cowboys a 6-5 lead in the first three and a half minutes. The Lions would then put up with a 9-0 ninety-second run. 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 at halftime. Ethan Anderson led by five points and Hunter Thompson added his second three of the game. But the Lions went past 1:15 on a 7-0 run to take a 26-19 lead, with 8:54 remaining in the first half.

Wyoming went nearly four minutes without a field goal until Agbonkpolo scored a three for a 28-24 game for SELA with 6:31 in the opening frame. Wenzel added a three-pointer 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 continue another 8-0 run and take a 36-32 lead with three minutes remaining. The Cowboys would cut the deficit to a point, but turnovers plagued Brown and Gold in the closing minutes until a three from Reynolds tied the contest 38-38 at halftime.

The Pokes remained scoreless for the first two minutes of the second half until Anderson found the basket for a 42-40 play in the Lions’ favour. Christian Agnew added a game-and-one to make it a six-point game and the lead was later increased 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 left.

Wyoming kept the Lions scoreless for 2:30 and Maldonado added a bucket and two free throws for a 52-51 lead, but another three from Southeastern gave them a 54-52 lead with just over 12 minutes left. A minute later the lead was extended to five points.

The Cowboys remained scoreless for three minutes and the Lions would extend the lead to nine points at 63-54 with six minutes remaining. The end was stopped by two free throws from Maldonado, but a Southeastern three-pointer made it a 10-point game at 66-56 with 4:40 in contention.

The Lions extended their lead 70-58 to 12 points with less than four minutes to go. Wenzel added another three for a 70-61 game with 3:17 remaining. SELA hit a free throw, but two 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 points and the SELA lead was still four points at 74-70 with 51 seconds remaining. Wyoming would then force a turnover and take their turn for two giveaways from Wenzel for a 74-72 game with 32 seconds remaining.

After two free throws from SELA, it was a four-point game and the closer Wyoming would fall, 76-72.

The Lions were led by Christian Agnew by 15 points that night. He was 5-of-9 out of the field. Donte Houston, Jr. added 13 points in the afternoon.

The Cowboys return for a contest against Howard on ESPN3 next Friday at 2:15 p.m. at Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands.

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