Slump continues for Wyoming Cowboys, fall to CSU in final seconds

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Posted at 9:09 AM, Feb 05, 2021

(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)

LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Wyoming Cowboys dropped a heartbreaker to Colorado State on Thursday evening, as a field goal in the closing seconds by the Rams proved to be a winner in a 74-72 loss in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes fall to 10-8 on the season and 4-7 in conference play with the Rams moving to 13-4 overall and 10-3 in conference play. Junior Hunter Maldonado reached 1,000 career points in the contest becoming the 39th Cowboy to do so.

“First, I want to thank the fans who came out tonight,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “It felt like a regular basketball game tonight to hear the fans cheering. I know our kids appreciated it, and we as a coaching staff appreciated it. I hope we’re able to have another good crowd on Saturday. I thought our effort defensively in the first half was really good. In the second half, they (CSU) shot 61 percent and for the game they shot 55 percent. We still had a chance to win the game because of the way we played offensively, but we have to learn that the discipline you have to have defensively in a game like this is something you have to maintain the entire game.”

Maldonado becomes the third-straight native of Colorado to score 1,000 career points following Alan Herndon and Hayden Dalton. He added 14 points and tied for the team lead with six rebounds. Freshmen Marcus Williams and Xavier DuSell added 17 points apiece. DuSell knocked down five threes with Williams also adding six assists. Sophomore Kwane Marble II added 10 points and six rebounds.

“We had some really good looks down the stretch, but hopefully the next time we won’t put ourselves in that situation if our defense can get a little better,” Linder said. “Our guys did play hard and we talked about being Cowboy Tough. We kept them off the offensive glass -- that was an emphasis heading into this game. (David) Roddy only had one offensive rebound, which was important for us to limit him.”

Wyoming was held to only nine three pointers after hitting 10 or more in six-straight games. Colorado State shot 55 percent from the field for the game and 61 percent in the second half. The Rams also held a 33-27 advantage on the glass for the night.

The Rams took the early advantage on the Pokes using a 7-0 run to make it a 12-5 contest in the first five minutes of the contest. The Pokes recorded four turnovers, but ended the run with jumper from Ike for a 12-7 game at the 14:02 mark of the half.

DuSell added his third triple of the half on a nice pass from Williams to make it a 19-16 game in favor of the Rams halfway through the half. The Pokes would cut the deficit to one-point at 19-18, but back-to-back buckets by the Rams pushed the lead back to five points with eight minutes left.

DuSell added another triple followed by a layup from Marble II to give Wyoming the lead at 26-25 with 4:37 left in the first frame. Maldonado got to 1,000 career points with a layup and was fouled to give Wyoming a 30-29 lead at the 3:15 mark of the first frame.

Wyoming added free throws and a bucket added with Maldonado for an 8-0 run for a 35-29 game with two minutes left. After a few freebies from Colorado State, Williams added a three pointer to give Wyoming a 38-32 lead at the half.

Both teams traded layups and triples to open the second frame. After that junior Hunter Thompson added a three pointer and Williams added a layup for a 48-39 lead for the Pokes with 17:29 left in the game.

The Rams responded with an 8-0 run over three minutes, but that was shut down with a thunderous slam from Williams to make it a 50-45 game for the Pokes with 14:32 remaining. The Pokes went without a field goal for over four minutes, as Colorado State tied the contest at 51-51 at the 11:10 mark of the half.

The Pokes would take a four-point lead at 50-56, but an and-one play from John Tonje and a pair of free throws from David Roddy gave Colorado State a 61-60 lead with 6:34 left in the contest. Colorado State would enjoy the one-point lead for a few minutes until Roddy made it a 65-62 game with 3:14 remaining.

Marble II would add a pair of free throws and a layup to tie the contest at 69-66 with 1:32 left in the game, but CSU took the lead right back with a three pointer from Adam Thistlewood at the 1:09 mark of the half.

The Rams moved the lead to five points on a pair of free throws, but an and-one play from Hunter Maldonado made it a 71-69 contest with 31 seconds remaining. Maldonado stole the pass and nearly tied the game, but the ball went out of bounce with possession to the Cowboys.

Wyoming would tie the contest on a three pointer from Williams with 12 seconds remaining, but Tonje hit a layup with just under six seconds left for the Ram lead. Marble II threw up a three pointer, but it missed, as Colorado State took the game 74-72.

The Rams were led by Tonje with 16 points on the night. Roddy added 15 points and led all players with eight rebounds.

Wyoming and Colorado State wrap up their season series on Saturday. The game is slated for a 4 p.m. start and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.