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Ike, Maldonado lead Wyoming past Nevada 74-61

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Mere days after suffering one of its most painful losses of the season, the Wyoming Cowboys earned the 74-61 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack behind the dominance of its two-headed monster in Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado on Saturday evening inside Arena Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo.

Ike, in contention for Mountain West player of the Year, and Maldonado accounted for 60.8 percent (45 points) of Wyoming’s scoring production. Ike tallied a team-high 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds — three shy of tying a season high, earning his 12th double-double of the season — shooting 8-of-15 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the charity stripe.

Maldonado had 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists, shooting 9-of-16 from the floor and 2-of-5 from distance. Jeremiah Oden had 10 points on 2-of-5 from deep as well, while Drake Jeffries and Xavier DuSell added eight points apiece.

Wyoming led by 16 at half and led by as much as 20 in the contest. Nevada battled back to trim it to 10 with 5:41 left, but couldn’t get it to single digits as the Pokes never let the back build any sustainable momentum.

Wyoming shot 42.9 percent, including 32.1 percent from 3-point range and 73.3 percent from the free-throw line. Nevada’s shooting woes continued, netting just 36.7 percent of its shots and 27.3 percent of its 3-point attempts.

The Wolf Pack had four double figure scorers. Desmond Cambridge, who returned after a one-game absence with a rib injury, and Grant Sherfield led the way with 12 points apiece on identical efficiency; Cambridge shot 5-of-15 while Sherfield had the same amount of makes with one additonal attempt.

Kenan Blackshear recorded 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting with four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Warren Washington had 11 points on a near-perfect 5-of-6 shooting with six boards, one shy of tying a team high (Daniel Foster had seven).

Wyoming has still yet to lose inside Arena Auditorium this season, moving to 13-0 in Laramie and 22-5 (12-3 MWC) overall. The Pack now drop to 12-15 and 6-10 in conference play.

Maldonado’s three-point play followed by a runner put the Pokes ahead 20-7 with 12:39 remaining in the first half, prompting a Wolf Pack timeout. Noah Reynolds’ triple widened it to 28-12, tied for its largest lead of the half.

Nevada’s Tre Coleman’s cut it to 12 with under three minutes left before halftime, though Wyoming’s two-way activity paired with Nevada’s inability to hit open looks made it difficult for to cut the lead to single digits.

Wyoming went into the break up 16, 42-26. Nevada shot 37.9 percent and 25.0 percent (2-8) from 3-point range; Wyoming shot 45.5 percent and 5-of-15 from beyond the arc.

Cambridge’s jumper sliced the lead to 11, though seven straight from the Pokes re-upped it to 18 with 13:43 left. Sherfield’s contested 3-pointer cut the deficit to 59-47 with 9:40 to go, but Nevada was never able to cut it to single digits, going the final 34:05 in a double-digit hole.

Next up: The Pack finish off their final road trip of the season against the Boise State Broncos on Tuesday, March 1 at 6 p.m. PT on FS2.