WYOMING BASKETBALL:  Cowboys Fall to St. Mary’s in Phoenix, 66-54

Ahead of conference play, Wyoming struggles with rebounds and turnovers

Transfer guard Ethan Anderson finished the game with six points and eight rebounds against the Gaels. (Courtesy photo from University of Wyoming Athletics)

By Kaycee Clark-Mellott

Special to the Wyoming Truth

PHOENIX, Ariz.—After receiving 25 votes in the Associated Press Top-25 poll and being projected to finish second in the Mountain West Conference, the 2022-23 Wyoming Cowboys basketball team has not lived up to their preseason hype. As conference play approaches, the 5-6 Cowboys are on the verge of a losing record.

Before MWC play begins next week, Wyoming faced the Saint Mary’s Gaels (9-4) Wednesday night in the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix.

Guard Noah Reynolds led the Wyoming Cowboys’ scoring against the Saint Mary’s Gaels with 21 points Wednesday in Phoenix. (Courtesy photo from University of Wyoming Athletics)

The game began with Wyoming scoring first, but losing the lead two minutes later. Saint Mary’s quickly extended its lead to double digits, 20-7, within eight minutes, and then extended it to 14 with 5:22 left in the first half.  

But Wyoming chipped away at the lead, reducing it to single digits with 30 seconds remaining in the first half, 33-24. Saint Mary’s center Mitchell Saxen hit a free throw to bring the halftime score to 34-24.

The Gaels dominated in the paint, scoring 20 points under the basket. Much of that came from Saxen with 15. Guard Logan Johnson also contributed 14 points. 

Wyoming totaled nine turnovers in the first half; three came from guard Hunter Maldonado.

The Cowboys bounced back early in the second half, going on a 11-5 run and inching within three of the Gaels, 39-36. Nearing the midpoint of the second half, the Pokes maintained the close game but then lost their shooting magic.  

Saint Mary’s pulled away through the last nine minutes to defeat Wyoming 66-54. The Cowboys fell to   5-7 on the season, as the Gaels reached 10-4.

The Cowboys committed 19 turnovers, with five coming from Maldonado who also fouled out of the game. Guard Noah Reynolds was the only Wyoming player in double digits at 21.

Saint Mary’s Johnson finished with 28 points; Saxen ended with 19.

Rebounding made the difference: Wyoming brought in only 28 rounds compared to the Gaels’ 34. But Saint Mary’s brought in 16 offensive rebounds versus Wyoming’s five. 

Saint Mary’s scored 25 points off of Cowboy turnovers and 38 points in the paint.

Next games up

The Cowboys begin their MWC schedule in California next week. The Fresno State Bulldogs (4-7) host Wyoming on Dec. 28, at 9 p.m. MST, with the game to be broadcast on the Cowboy Sports Network and CBS Sports Network. Wyoming will host the New Mexico Lobos (12-0) in a New Year’s Eve showdown in the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie at 2 p.m. MST, with the game to be broadcast on the Cowboy Sports Network and FS1.

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