Wyoming Unable to Overcome an Overwhelming First Half

Wyoming Unable to Overcome an Overwhelming First Half

Mountain West Basketball

Wyoming Unable to Overcome an Overwhelming First Half

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Wyoming Unable to Overcome an Overwhelming First Half


Arizona hands Wyoming its first loss of the Season


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Cowboys’ good second half too little to overcome overwhelming first half.

The Wyoming Cowboys fell to the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday night by a score of 94-65. The Cowboys were overwhelmed by Arizona in transition during the first half and were not able to overcome the 31-point halftime deficit. The Cowboys made adjustments in the second half, but it was too little too late. Graham Ike, and Xavier DuSell both had good games, but the Cowboys as a whole had no answers for Arizona.

Let’s go over my five observations from this game, three negatives, and two positives.

Negatives

1. Wyoming got burned in transition

The Cowboys came into this game knowing that they would have to slow down the Wildcats if they wanted to keep pace with Arizona in this game. Arizona gashed the Cowboys for 27 transition points in the first half alone. The Cowboys had no answer for the Wildcats’ pace of play and got beat early.

2. The Cowboys were dismal on the glass

In the keys to victory for this game I wrote that if Wyoming wants to win this game, they have to win on the glass. The Cowboys were outrebounded 42-27, and only got 6 offensive rebounds for the game, while giving up 13. Graham Ike, who has been averaging 9 rebounds a game, only came away with 4 rebounds last night. To the eye test it seemed to me like the Cowboys, as a group, did not do enough to fight for rebounds on either side of the court.

3. Hunter Maldonado was made a non-factor

The Wyoming offense runs through Hunter Maldonado, and the senior was largely made a non-factor in this game. On the season, Maldonado has averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. Maldonado’s usual influence was greatly missed in this game, as he checked in with 9 points, 1 rebound, and 4 assists in addition to 5 turnovers.

Positives

4. Wyoming made adjustments in the second half

Arizona has played 16 halves worth of Basketball, and the Wildcats have been outscored in two of those halves all year. One half against Wichita State, and one half against Wyoming. Wyoming had a good second half and didn’t give up despite the huge deficit. Xavier DuSell had 17 of his 22 points in the second half, and Graham Ike added 9 points in the second half. The Cowboys also took better care of the ball and only turned the ball over 3 times in the second half, compared to 11 times in the first. The Cowboys may not have won the game, but they did win the last 20 minutes.

 

5. Graham Ike proved he can play with any big in the country

The Cowboys’ big man has been having an amazing season so far this year, and that continued for the most part on Wednesday night. Ike was double teamed all night by players 3 and 5 inches taller than him, and still put up 17 points and was able to make his presence felt in the post. The one part of Ike’s game that has been the most frustrating to watch is his ability to convert at the free throw line. This season Ike is shooting 65 percent from the line, while getting fouled at the second highest rate in all of College Basketball. Against Arizona, for the first time this year, Ike didn’t miss a free throw. If Ike can keep improving at the line, teams will be forced to make a difficult decision, either try to guard Ike with double teams that he is beating, or let him beat you from the free throw line.

 

The Cowboys head back to Laramie on Saturday to face a tough Utah Valley squad for the last game before heading to Hawaii on the 21st for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.


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