Cowboys Drop Front Range Battle at Air Force, 82-74
* University of Wyoming press release
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., – The Wyoming Cowboys dropped a tough road decision at Air Force on Tuesday evening by a score of 82-74 inside Clune Arena in Colorado Springs.
The Cowboys were without the services of Preseason All-Mountain West performer Hunter Maldonado, among others, and were forced to use their 13th starting lineup this season, which is tied for the most in the nation.
“The first half we did a tremendous job,” UW Jeff Linder Linder said. “In the second half it came down to teams guarding the ball and offensively we were fine. If you allow a team that isn’t going to beat themselves do that, that's what happens. (Nate) Barnhart did a great job playing extended minutes and gave us a change. He was an anchor of the team. It is unfortunate to have all the injuries."
The Pokes finished the night shooting 55 percent from the field. The Falcons shot 53 percent from the field and hit 10 triples on the night. The Cowboys dominated the paint with 42 points to the Falcons 24, but AFA added 17 points off turnovers.
The Cowboys were led by Noah Reynolds with 26 points for his sixth 20-plus scoring game of the season and of his career. Ethan Anderson added 14 points for his fifth game in double-figures this season and his third-straight game. Nate Barnhart made his first career start for the Pokes recording a career-high 11 points and a career-high six rebounds. Xavier DuSell added 12 points for his fourth-straight game in double figures.
The Pokes started off hot in the opening six minutes building a 14-4 advantage and holding the Falcons without a field goal for over four and a half minutes. Reynolds added six points during the run with Anderson and Barnhart adding four apiece. Wyoming opened the contest 7-of-10 from the field and scored 14 points in the paint.
The Falcons would cut the Pokes lead to seven points at 17-10 nearly halfway through the half, but DuSell hit a fadeaway bucket for a 19-10 contest. He would then add a triple for a 22-10 game near the 8:30 mark of the first frame.
Air Force would hit back-to-back buckets for a 22-14 game with 6:38 left in the half, but Reynolds got to double-figures to push the lead back to 10 points seconds later. AFA would make it a six-point game, but Jake Kyman knocked down a three-pointer for a 31-22 game with just under three minutes left in the half.
The Pokes would hold a five-point lead in the final two minutes with DuSell making it a seven-point game with 84 seconds left in the half. Air Force added a late three-pointer to close the half and make it a 36-32 game for the Pokes at the break.
Air Force opened the second half on a 9-2 run to take a 41-38 lead in the two minutes of the half. Wyoming would tie the contest and take a brief lead at 44-43. The Falcons would hit five-straight field goals and would take a 54-46 lead with 11:38 remaining.
The Pokes would go on a 6-0 run with layups from Jeremiah Oden, Reynolds, and Anderson for a 54-52 contest with 10:19 remaining in the game. Air Force would go on a 7-0 run to make it a 65-55 game with nearly right minutes left. Oden stopped the run with a triple for a 65-58 game with 6:32 left on the clock.
Air Force would push the lead to 11-points on their 10th three pointer of the game, but Oden added a triple and made it a 73-65 game with 3:40 left. The Pokes would pull within seven a pair of times and got it to 75-70 with 1:22 remaining on a Reynolds jumper, but the Falcons recorded an and-one and that would carry them to a 82-74 win.
The Falcons were led by Beau Becker with 23 points. He was 9-of-16 from the field. Rytis Petraitis added 15 points and led the team with nine rebounds.
The Cowboys return home Saturday. They play host to rival Colorado State at 2 p.m. inside the Arena-Auditorium.
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