Game Recap: #25 Colorado 56, Wyoming 41
Second-half runs by the Buffs bury the Cowboys
Poor shooting and turnovers plague the Cowboys in Sin City
Hunter Maldonado continues to carry the brunt of the Wyoming offense, but his 14-point effort wasn’t enough on Sunday night, as the Cowboys fell 56-41 to regional rival, #25 Colorado.
Tyler Bey was the main man for the Buffaloes, scoring 11 points and pulling down a career-high 19 rebounds. D’Shawn Schwartz led Colorado in scoring with 12, while Evan Battey nearly registered a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds.
After Maldonado, Wyoming’s leading scorer was Greg Milton III with seven points, while Trevon Taylor and Jake Hendricks each scored six. The Cowboys’ anemic offense was hamstrung by poor shooting (32%) and turnovers (19) throughout the game.
Despite the backdrop of playing in The Entertainment Capital of the World, this game failed to deliver many of the thrills that its host city is known for.
It was an ugly, low-scoring affair from the beginning, with the teams heading into the locker room knotted at 15 points apiece. The Cowboys and Buffaloes combined to shoot below 25% from the field and committed a total of 16 turnovers in the first half.
Maldonado led all scorers with nine points at the break. Colorado’s Tyler Bey had ten rebounds by halftime but had made just one field goal to that point.
But the Buffs came out swinging in the second half, going on a 13-0 run over the first four minutes.
Wyoming answered and cut the deficit to as little as four points during the second half, but never fully recovered from Coloardo’s haymaker at the beginning of the period.
Another Buffaloes run late in the second half put the game out of reach.
Colorado (4-0, 0-0 Pac-12) remained undefeated after Sunday’s conquest at T-Mobile Arena. The win should help Colorado remain in the national polls and keeps them nipping at the heels of Pac-12 front-runners Oregon and Arizona.
OUTLOOK: For Wyoming, Hunter Maldonado has taken on the role vacated by NBA draftee Justin James, who served as the Cowboys’ do-everything star last season. A 6’7” sophomore, Maldonado was shaping up to be a great complement to James last year before an injury cut his season short.
Now, the spotlight—and the burden—is squarely on Maldonado.
But so far, the results have been much the same for Allen Edwards and the Cowboys. Wyoming came into the game on a bit of a roll after wins against Detroit Mercy and Louisiana, but that momentum took a big hit on Sunday.
With the loss, Wyoming (3-4, 0-0 MWC) falls back under .500 as they prepare for the second round of the MGM Main Event in Las Vegas. It was the Cowboys’ third loss in three tries against Power 5 opponents. Earlier in the season, they lost to South Carolina by 34 and to Oregon State by 20.
UP NEXT: The Cowboys are guaranteed a fourth shot at a Power 5 school on Tuesday, when they face the loser of the Clemson-TCU matchup. That game takes place later Sunday night. KenPom projections favor the Horned Frogs by three points over the Tigers. Both teams currently reside in the top 75 of Pomeroy’s ratings, with TCU at #51 and Clemson at #75.
Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.