Wyoming Basketball Off To Hot Start

Wyoming Basketball Off To Hot Start

Mountain West Basketball

Wyoming Basketball Off To Hot Start


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Wyoming Basketball Off To a Hot Start

The Cowboys are off to their best start since 2014

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Jeff Linder has the Cowboys rolling to start the season

Coming into the season, the Mountain West Media picked Wyoming to tie for 8th in the Mountain West; that did not sit well with head coach Jeff Linder. When asked about being picked to finish 8th in the conference, Linder had this to say: “Perception is reality, and that’s our job as a program: to actually prove it during the season and to prove that we are a program on the rise. I don’t necessarily agree with where we were picked, but that doesn’t really matter, because in the long run, it’s where we finish come March. I think if we can keep the right guys healthy and continue to get better, then I think we can compete with anybody in the league.”

Wyoming is working every game to prove the doubters wrong, and the Cowboys are doing that just that in a 6-0 start to the season, with three of those wins coming in tough road games. The Cowboys are the only team in the country who has played three or more true road games and not lost at least one of those games. Wyoming has won on the road against Washington, Grand Canyon, and CSU-Fullerton.

The Cowboys are led by the potent duo of Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike. Maldonado has transitioned from a forward as a freshman to the full time point guard in the offense and is averaging 19.4 points, 6 assists, and 6.8 rebounds per game. Ike is coming into his first full season with the Cowboys with a ton of potential, but still relatively unknown. Through six games, Ike is averaging 18.8 points and eight rebounds per game. Outside of Maldonado and Ike, Wyoming’s three other starters are also averaging double digits in points, as well as all five starters shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

Wyoming has shown this year that the Cowboys can win in multiple ways. Against Washington, the recipe for success for the Cowboys was to feed the ball down low to Ike and let him go to work in the post. Ike finished the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Maldonado added 24 points and 10 rebounds, with 16 of those points coming in the paint. In contrast, Wyoming enjoyed a blowout win against Hastings, where the Cowboys tied the NCAA record for most 3-pointers made in a single game with 28.

In that game, Drake Jefferies also broke the Mountain West record for three-pointers in a game by a single player with 11 made 3-pointers. The Cowboys are also getting it done on the Defensive side of the ball, holding opponents to a 35.2 percent field goal percentage (6th in the country) and 24.8 percent from beyond the arc (10th in the country). The Cowboys currently rank 6th in the country in Scoring Margin, winning by an average of 25 points per game.


The true mettle of this team will be tested next week when the Cowboys head to Tucson to take on the 11th ranked Arizona Wildcats, which right now looks to be a meeting between two undefeated teams. If the Cowboys can pull off the upset next Wednesday, the Mountain West Conference and the country will be forced to take notice.




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