FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Wyoming Cowboys could not overcome the hot shooting of the Colorado State Rams on Friday, falling 84-71 in the latest iteration of the Border War.
“When you allow the other team to shoot 60%, it’s going to be tough to win,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “But at the (seven minute mark) of the second half, it’s a five-point game and we had the momentum. They came down and shoot a shot and then they get two offensive rebounds that ends up leading to a three by them. In that stretch, they went on a 10-0 run and the game goes from five to 15 points and the game is over.”
Wyoming was led by Hunter Maldonado, who scored with 23 points. He also added six rebounds and five assists on the night. Brendan Wenzel added 17 points for his ninth game this season in double-figures. He hit five 3-pointers on the night. Hunter Thompson added 12 points.
“Maldo is a warrior and hopefully on Monday, which I know it’s tough sometimes for fans to come out on a Monday night, but I hope the Wyoming faithful come out and honor those two guys — Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson,” Linder said. “They are a rare breed and they’re going to become even a rarer breed as college basketball evolves. Those two guys are loyal. We better go out dying for those two guys as a team, because in this day and age when it is easy to blame someone else, they didn’t blame anyone. They could have left. Maldo could have left to get NIL money, but that guy is loyal to the University of Wyoming and loyal to the brown and gold.
“Hunter Thompson has also got the brunt of a lot of things being the Wyoming kid on our team, but that guy gave his heart and soul to the University of Wyoming. I hope and pray, as I hope and pray for my dad, that people show up on Monday and honor those guys. They deserve to be honored.”
The Cowboys shot 45% from the field in the contest and finished the night with 10 three-pointers. The Rams, however, shot 59% from the field and 44% from behind the arc.
The Pokes used early 3-pointers by Thompson and Wenzel to take a quick 8-5 advantage in the opening two and a half minutes, though the Rams answered back. The Rams went on a 10-0 run and would take a 22-12 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the first half.
The Cowboys cut the Rams’ lead to nine when a 3-pointer from Maldonado made it a 28-19 contest, but the Rams then held the Pokes scoreless for the next several minutes as they were able to build up a 35-19 advantage with just under five minutes left in the half.
In the second half, Wyoming showed signs of life by holding the Rams scoreless for nearly four-minutes and cutting the deficit to 49-44 with 13 minutes left. The Rams pushed the lead back up to 55-46 halfway through the half, and Thompson made it a six-point game again with a triple before the Rams pushed it to 59-49 with about nine minutes left.
Wenzel added his third three-pointer of the game and Maldonado added an and-one play to make it a five-point game, but Colorado State once again was able to answer right back with a 3-pointer of their own to push the lead back to eight.
The Rams went on a 10-0 run as the game wound to an end, and though UW had one last run in them, cutting a 15-point deficit down to 76-66, that was as close as the Cowboys would get.