The Wyoming Cowboys fell to the New Mexico inside the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie by a score of 79-65 on Saturday afternoon. Wyoming was led in scoring by redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado with 27 points. He has scored in double-figures in every contest this season.
At halftime of the contest, The University of Wyoming Athletic department retired the jersey of Cowboy great Fennis Dembo. His number was retired right next to Kenny Sailors’. Dembo presented UW Director of Athletics Tom Burman his NBA Championship ring to be put on display for Cowboy fans to see.
“I love the fight in our guys,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “New Mexico is a very talented team. I felt like we got back our identity as a team especially in the first half with our defense. We gave up too many offensive rebounds with 12. It hurt us when Jake (Hendricks) went down, we had to go deeper in our bench and we didn’t have enough production from that. Kuddos to New Mexico, they are a good team.”
Maldonado recorded his 20-plus scoring game of the season. He also added a team-high six rebounds along with freshman Kenny Foster. Senior guard A.J. Banks tied a season-high with 15 points for the day. He tied a career-high with three triples and led Wyoming with three assists. Sophomore Hunter Thompson added 12 points for back-to-back games in double figures.
“Hunter (Thompson) has really improved his physicality especially against two talented big players from New Mexico,” Edwards said. “It was tough to not have a second body to give him a rest. He played 36 minutes and I would like to see him go around 28. Until we get Tyler Morman back, this will be the route we have to go.”
The Lobos outshot the Pokes 48 percent to 38 percent for the game. New Mexico shot 60 percent in the second frame. Wyoming added 10 three pointers for the game for back-to-back double-digit three pointers for the first time this season. The Lobos grabbed 47 boards and scored 44 points in the paint.
The Lobos got off to an early 8-3 leads in the first four-plus minutes holding the Pokes to 1-of-7 from the field. But Thomson and Maldonado added buckets for a 5-0 run to make it an 8-8 game with 13:13 left in the first half.
The two teams would battle until a quick 7-0 run by the Lobos made it a 17-10 contest with just under eight minutes left. New Mexico would then build the lead to double-digits thanks to a streak of 6-of-8 from the field.
New Mexico rode that momentum into halftime taking a 32-21 advantage. The Lobos held a 26-15 advantage on the boards. UNM was held to 37 percent from the field in the frame, but Wyoming was held to 31 percent.
The Pokes would use a 5-0 run highlighted by a slam from Maldonado to make it a 44-34 contest. He followed that with a triple to make it a nine point contest with 14 minutes remaining. The Lobos held to Cowboys without a field goal for over four minutes to build the lead back to double digits.
The Lobos would build the lead up to as many as 20 points, but the Cowboys would battle to within 12 points, as New Mexico would take the contest 79-65.
Corey Manigault led the Lobos with 18 points, as four players scored in double figures. Carlton Bragg added 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the day.
The Pokes return to action next Saturday facing off against Northern Colorado in a 7 p.m. contest in the Arena-Auditorium.