The Wyoming Cowboys won their two home matchups against conference opponents this past week. The Pokes won their first game of the homestand by defeating a formidable opponent in the Colorado State Rams 84-78 in overtime on Monday. They then went on to beat Boise State in another close contest on Thursday, by a score of 72-65.
The first game of the Cowboys’ two-game homestand this past week was against the dangerous CSU Rams in the latest iteration of the Border War. The rival Rams were coming into Laramie with a 16-2 record and were winners of five of their last six, dropping their most recent contest just a few days prior, to UNLV. The Cowboys were able to best the Rams in front of a packed-in, white-out crowd on Monday night. The Pokes beat the Rams in OT in large part thanks to an outstanding performance from Senior Guard Hunter Maldonado. Maldonado had a career-high 35 points against the Rams, including the go ahead layup with just under one minute left. In addition to Maldonado, the Cowboys also had three other players scoring in double digits. Graham Ike and Drake Jeffries each scored 16 points, with Jeremiah Oden also cashing in 12 points for the Pokes in the victory. The Rams didn’t go down easy, with major contributions on the offensive end from David Roddy, who had 23 points, and Isaiah Stevens, who dropped in 17 of his own. It was a back and forth contest all the way through with no team holding a lead for very long either way, building the anticipation for the next time these squads meet which will be in Fort Collins on February 23rd.
The second game of the Pokes’ two-game homestand was no easier, coming against the streaking Boise State Broncos. The Broncos were off to a rough start early on in their season, but turned on the jets of late, winning their last thirteen contests prior to the matchup with the Cowboys, in Laramie. The Broncos, the only team to beat the Pokes in their last ten games, looked to do that again on Thursday, but ran into a hungry Cowboys team eager to cement themselves as a top-conference competitor. One man in particular had that very goal in mind in Graham Ike. Ike had a huge game against the Broncos, scoring 33 points on 12-23 from the field, while tacking on 10 rebounds in the Cowboy win. Maldonado added 16 points of his own, while Jeremiah Oden was the third-leading scorer, adding 12 points on 4-5 shooting. On the other side, Boise State’s biggest scoring contributors were Abu Kigab (26 pts) and Tyson Degenhart (13 pts). The Cowboys held the Broncos to 39% from the field and just 25% from three in the second and final matchup between the two, prior to the conclusion of the regular season.
Jeff Linder’s Pokes improved to 18-3 overall and 7-1 in conference play this past week, firmly placing themselves in the driver’s seat in the Mountain Division, alongside Boise. They look to extend their three-game win streak with games against Fresno State, Utah State, and San Jose State to round out the week. With a lot of travel involved, the Pokes will want to ride this momentum to finish out their season. They have moved up to 45th in KenPom’s latest rankings, wedged between BYU (44) and North Carolina (46). The team also moves to the 29th spot in NET rankings, and are a part of Joe Lunardi’s First Four In, thanks to their big wins this past week.
@ Fresno State, Sunday, February 6, 5 p.m. MT
vs. Utah State, Tuesday, February 8, 7 p.m. MT
@ San Jose State, Saturday, February 12, 7 p.m. MT