Recap: Wyoming Outlasts Omaha, 82-78
Cowboys are now 6-1
Wyoming on a roll.
Wyoming basketball did something Thursday night in the AA that took them nearly all season to do a year ago, they won their sixth game of the season. In a closely fought 82-78 win, the pokes sent the Omaha Mavericks home in yet another confidence boosting performance in the fledgling Jeff Linder era.
Lead by junior guard Hunter Maldonado (who was two assists shy of a triple double), and great performances off the bench from Drake Jeffries and Kwane Marble II, the Cowboys found a way to score against a stout defense.
Jeffries was the Cowboys leading scorer, putting up 19 points, while going 5-12 from three. He and Marble would account for 36 of the 40 points scored off the bench.
Maldonado showed the leadership and court vision that was apparent a year ago, but with more talent around him this year, he didn’t have to be a one man show. He was able to facilitate a game that saw five Cowboys reach double digits in scoring, while also snagging 12 rebounds for himself.
Wyoming’s offense was able to move efficiently, putting up 11 three point shots, and shooting a combined 42% from the field.
Defensively the pokes were able to minimize the damage from the Mavericks leading scorer Marlon Ruffin, keeping him to nine points.
The pokes did find trouble in containing the Mavericks big men, Wanjang Tut and Matt Pile, who scored a combined 54 points, while also being responsible for 17 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots.
Despite the production from Tut and Pile, the pokes were able to play their fast paced, shot taking, defensive brand of basketball, that is a hallmark of Linder coached teams. Multiple pokes contributed to this win, and with a young team that contribution could pay dividends in the latter part of the season.
Production like we saw Thursday night is something that may take fans a minute to get used to after years of Larry Shyatt influenced basketball. Gone are the days of running the clock to zero before shooting, so are the days of neglecting offensive rebound opportunities in favor of falling back on defense. This is a brand new Wyoming team, and this was a great way to get the season going as we head into conference play against UNLV Sunday in Laramie.