LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Cowboys saw their four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon with a 80-62 loss to Fresno State inside the Arena-Auditorium. The two teams combined for 38 points off of turnovers. The Pokes fall to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in the MW with the Bulldogs improving to 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the league.
“I give Coach (Rodney) Terry and his guys a lot of credit,” Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. “I thought they came out with a tremendous energy and effort. Obviously coming off two losses, they wanted to get back on the winning side. They did the things necessary to put themselves in a position to win the basketball game.”
The Bulldogs shot 54 percent from the field in the contest, the highest percentage given up by the Pokes since Denver shot 56 percent on Nov. 29. Wyoming was held to 36 percent from the field, their lowest since the Colorado State game on Jan. 13. Fresno State scored 38 points in the paint matching a season-high for a Cowboy opponent.
“Not only were we not able to stop them inside, but we weren’t able to stop them off dribble penetration,” Edwards said. “They did a good job of getting to the paint. Their bigger guys made some nice little 10-foot jump shots and did a good job of keeping the ball alive on the offensive glass.”
Wyoming was led by in scoring by senior forward Hayden Dalton with 20 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. The Pokes were 10-0 heading into the game when Dalton scored 20 or more points in a game. Senior forward Alan Herndon added 11 points for his 55th game in double figures in his career.
The Bulldogs raced out to an early 6-2 lead on the Pokes thanks to effective jumpers in the paint. Back-to-back threes from Ray Bowles Jr. helped the Bulldogs build a 12-4 lead with 15:44 lead in the first stanza.
After a Hunter Maldonado three to make it 12-7, the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to make it a 20-7 game holding the Pokes scoreless for nearly four minutes. Redshirt junior Nyaires Redding halted the slide with the three pointer with 10:53 left in the frame.
But once again the Bulldogs went on a run this time of 7-0 to build the lead up to 17 points at 27-10 with 9:08 left in the half. The Pokes were held to 3-of-11 from the field to that point with six turnovers that were turned into 11 points by the Bulldogs.
The Pokes cut the FSU lead to 13 points on a quick 5-0 run with a triple from Herndon and steal and layup from sophomore guard Cody Kelley to make it a 34-21 game with 4:32 left in the half. Wyoming cut it to 10 points at 36-26 with three minutes left, but the Bulldogs continued to run instantly building the lead back to 15 points a moment later.
The Bulldogs went into the break with a 46-30 lead forcing 10 Cowboy turnovers. Fresno also dominated the paint in the first half outscoring UW 22-10.
“You never want to dig yourself a hole, but we have been in this position before and been able to fight our way back,” Edwards said. “There were times today when we felt like we stopped the bleeding in the sense of defending and getting the ball back with an opportunity to cut into the lead. But I felt like Fresno State did a great job of staying composed, playing their game and attacking, whether it be getting it inside or driving the ball to the basket.”
Fresno State continued to pressure the Pokes to open the second half. The Bulldogs built the lead to 18-points in the first five minutes, as the Pokes struggled from behind the arc going 0-of-5. Fresno State later built the lead to a game-high 20 points at 62-42 with 11:27 left in the game.
Wyoming cut the deficit to 15 points with 10:41 left in the contest thanks to a triple from junior guard Justin James. Fresno State built the lead back to 19 points with 7:37 left in the game using the paint with 14 points in the frame from in close.
The Pokes would come to as close as 15 points on a Redding three pointer with 5:20 remaining, but the Fresno State’s offense was too much as the Pokes fell 80-62 for just the third time at home this season.
Fresno State had five players score in double-figures. Nate Grimes led FSU with 20 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. Jaron Hopkins added 16 points and a game-high six assists. The Pokes’ held Deshon Taylor to 15 points, as he came into the game averaging well over 19 points per game.
Wyoming returns to action on Wednesday hosting Utah State at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The contest can be seen on the MW Network.