WYOMING BASKETBALL: Cowboys Come Up Short Against Dayton

Pokes fall to the Flyers 66-49, fail to score more than 30 points in either half

Wyoming Cowboy guard Noah Reynolds scored 20 points in a loss to the Dayton Flyers Saturday in Chicago. Reynolds also was named the Mountain West Conference "Player of the Week" for averaging 25 points per game last week. (Courtesy photo from the University of Wyoming Athletics)

By Kaycee Clark-Mellott

Special to the Wyoming Truth

CHICAGO, Ill.—A trip to the Windy City saw the Wyoming Cowboys (5-5) compete in the Legends of Basketball Showcase against the Dayton Flyers (6-5) on Saturday. In the preseason, the contest looked to be intense. But both teams have been pestered by injuries, and their seasons have not lived up to the hype.  

The game began with Hunter Maldonado at the free throw line, hitting both shots to put the Cowboys up 2-0. Dayton tied it up 25 seconds later—and never looked back.

Early on, the Flyers dominated the court and led Wyoming 35-21 at halftime. The Cowboys could not contain Dayton’s big man, DaRon Holmes II, who dropped 12 points in, nine in the paint.

Wyoming’s leading scorer was forward Hunter Thompson with eight points, six from beyond the arc. Dayton’s shooting skill was the major difference between the teams. The Flyers shot 61.9% from the field and 45.5% from three. In comparison, the Cowboys shot 29.2% from the field and 27.3% from three.

Coming out of the half, Wyoming looked to stop the Flyers completely. Forcing three turnovers in three possessions, Wyoming cut the lead to five. After four long minutes for the Flyers, they scored their first points of the half, 37-30.

Guard Noah Reynolds, the reigning Mountain West Conference “Player of the Week,” was Wyoming’s hero. After scoring only two points in the first half, Reynolds rattled off all of Wyoming’s 15 points in the opening six minutes of the second half. Wyoming came within two, 37-35, before the Flyers began to pull away again.  

But fouls, Holmes and forward Toumani Camara crushed Wyoming’s attempts at a comeback. The Cowboys fouled the Flyers 15 times, nine of them on Holmes, who dropped another 12 points to increase his total to 24. Camara scored 17 points and add two steals.

Only five Wyoming players scored, with two in double figures. Reynolds led the way with 20, while Thompson contributed 14 and Hunter Maldonado scored six on 2-11 from the field. Brendan Wenzel totaled five points and Kenny Foster had four. Wyoming only shot 34.5% from the field. 

In a continuing trend, opposing teams keep attacking Wyoming’s post.  For a team that had preseason hopes of a conference title and a trip back to the NCAA Tournament, the chances seem slim unless Graham Ike returns or the team finds a solution to stop their opponents’ post play.  

“It’s about 10 minutes left, and low and behold, in those middle innings, those middle rounds, you just kind of fall by the wayside,” head coach Jeff Linder said after the game.

Next games up

Wyoming will finish the first half of the season with a final out-of-conference game in the Jerry Colangelo Classic against Saint Mary’s (9-3) on Dec. 21. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and the Cowboys Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. MST.

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