Cowboys Fall to Grand Canyon in Homestand Opener, 66-58
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Press Release) - The Wyoming Cowboy offense struggled late in the second half in a 66-58 loss to Grand Canyon on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. A run by Grand Canyon in the final seven minutes was too much for the shorthanded Cowboys playing without Brandan Wenzel and Noah Reynolds to overcome.
“Ultimately it comes down to the fact that you’re not going to shoot the ball well every night, so on the nights you’re not making shots you’ve got to hang your hat on your defense,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “You have to find a way to win a game.”
The Cowboys were led by Jake Kyman with 16 points and six rebounds. It was his second game this season in double figures and career-high with the Pokes. Hunter Maldonado added 12 points and four assists. Hunter Thompson added six points and a team-high eight rebounds. Ethan Anderson added eight points on the night.
“It has been hard -- not knowing if Maldo (Hunter Maldonado) was going to be able to go today,” Linder said. Then Noah (Reynolds) with his cramps and he got a charlie horse in practice and (Brendan) Wenzel hurt his back on a charge in Salt Lake against Santa Clara so they both missed today’s game. It’s not like you consistently can say, okay we’ve got this group of guys and we know exactly what we can do with this group of guys because you’ve got guys in different spots than what they’re used to
The Pokes did hold a 35-30 lead on the boards and had an 11-1 advantage on the offensive glass. The Pokes shot 35 percent from the field and 29 percent from deep hitting 10 threes in the game. Grand Canyon shot 46 percent from the field in the contest and 42 percent from the three-point line.
After Max Agbonkpolo opened the game with a bucket, Grand Canyon went on a 5-0 run to take a 5-2 advantage. Xavier DuSell tied the contest with a triple at the 16:33 mark of the half. The Cowboys would struggle from the field going over three minutes without a bucket, as GCU took a 12-6 lead with under 14 minutes left in the first half.
Maldonado hit a pair of triples to make it a 14-12 game for Grand Canyon with a few ticks over right minutes left in the opening frame. But another 5-0 run from the Lopes made it a 19-12 contest a minute later.
Wyoming would cut the Grand Canyon lead to as little on four on a few occasions, but the Lopes would take a 28-21 lead with 6:11 on the clock in the opening frame. The Pokes went over three minutes without a bucket until Anderson hit a shot for a 28-23 game with 4:20 left. He then earned a steal and made it a three-point game seconds later.
The Pokes made it a two-point game on a cutting layup from Kenny Foster, but the Lopes would hold the Pokes scoreless until Kyman made it a one-point game at 31-30 with under a minute left and that is how the first half would end.
Thompson gave Wyoming a brief lead to open the half, but a triple from Grand Canyon made it a 34-32 game for the Lopes. But Maldonado and Anderson hit back-to-back layups and gave Wyoming a 38-34 lead two-plus minutes into the second frame.
The Lopes would tie the contest, but Maldonado would score four-straight and make it a 42-38 game with 15:36 left in the game. Grand Canyon went on a 7-0 run and took the lead back at 45-42 with 12:54 left in the second period.
Thompson tied the game at 47-47 with a three-pointer with 10:36 left in the game. Kyman came right back down the floor and knocked down his third of the game for a 50-47 Cowboy advantage with under 10 minutes left. Yet another 7-0 run made it a 54-50 game for the Lopes with under eight minutes left.
Kyman made it a two-point game with a pair of free throws, but the lead was pushed back to12, as Wyoming struggled from the field missing eight straight shots until Foster hit a three for a 64-55 game with 1:18 left. The Pokes would fall in the end though 66-58
Grand Canyon was led by Ray Harrision with 21 points on the night. Gabe McGlothlan added 14 points and five rebounds.
The Pokes host Texas A&M Commerce on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium
Copyright 2022 KGWN. All rights reserved.