LARAMIE – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team followed up a dominant effort in its season opener with another convincing victory on Sunday afternoon.

Four days removed from blowing out Detroit Mercy by 38 points, the Cowboys rolled to an 85-45 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the Arena-Auditorium. This marks the first time since 2014 that the Pokes have held consecutive opponents under 50 points.

“It was one of those games where it was about us,” UW coach Jeff Linder said. “That's what I really challenged the guys (to do) – that we aren't playing the opponent, we're playing ourselves ... For us to come in and have that mature approach, knowing we're not good enough to just show up and beat anybody. We have to put forth the effort and put in the work behind the scenes.”

After falling behind 4-0 early on, the Cowboys gained momentum and never slowed down.

Defense was a driving factor that allowed UW to pull away, with UAPB shooting just 30% from the field, while going 6-of-30 from behind the 3-point arc. The Golden Lions were held scoreless for more than five minutes on two occasions in the first half, and the Pokes entered the break with a 42-22 advantage.

“Defensively, it comes down to who is the more locked in team,” sophomore forward Jeremiah Oden said. “I think we've done a good job of being the more locked in team so far.”

Sophomore forward Graham Ike led all players with 21 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes. 16 of these points came in the second half, as Ike went 3 of 4 from the field and 10 of 13 from the free-throw line.

“He's a 75-80% free-throw shooter, and that's what makes him so good,” Linder said. “He's going to draw so much attention, and he's going to put so much foul pressure on the other team. He's not that typical post player that goes to the foul line and shoots 50% …

“When teams start to try to press up and you can throw the ball to him, just get out of the way. You don't have to get too tricky. Just get the ball to your guys in the right places, and let them play.”

The Cowboys’ other four starters also scored in double figures, with three recording at least six rebounds.

Oden had 17 points to go along with six boards, while senior guard Hunter Maldonado had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Xavier DuSell and senior wing Drake Jeffries finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

As a team, Wyoming shot 58% from the field and won the points in the paint battle 40-18.

“We're working every day to get better,” Jeffries said. “We're sharing the ball, sharing the wealth, and nobody is selfish. Everybody wants to make sure everybody is doing their part.”

Next up for Wyoming is a two-game road trip, starting at Washington on Thursday.

WYOMING 85, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF 45

Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Sampson 3-9 0-2 9, Milton 6-13 0-0 17, Morris 1-1 1-2 4, Brown 1-5 1-2 3, Williams 1-7 0-0 2, Vargas 1-5 0-0 2, Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Harris 1-5 0-0 2, Stokes 1-4 0-0 2, Parchman 1-1 0-0 2, Stredic 1-3 0-0 2, Doyne 0-1 0-0 0, Doolittle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-57 5-7 45.

Wyoming: Oden 7-8 2-2 17, Ike 5-9 11-16 21, Jeffries 3-4 1-2 10, Maldonado 6-9 4-7 16, DuSell 4-8 0-0 11, Wenzel 0-2 0-0 0, Thompson 1-2 0-0 2, Dut 1-3 0-0 3, Reynolds 0-2 1-4 1, Nelson 2-2 0-0 4, Grigsby 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 29-50 19-31 85.

Halftime: Wyoming 42-22. 3-pointers: APB 6-30 (Sampson 0-2, Milton 5-8, Morris 1-1, Brown 0-3, Williams 0-4, Vargas 0-2, Thomas 0-2, Harris 0-2, Stokes 0-3, Stredic 0-1, Doyne 0-1, Doolittle 0-1); UW 8-19 (Oden 1-2, Jeffries 3-4, Maldonado 0-1, DuSell 3-5, Wenzel 0-2, Thompson 0-1, Dut 1-2, Reynolds 0-1, Grigsby 0-1). Rebounds: APB 27 (Sampson 6); UW 44 (Ike 8). Assists: APB 8 (Williams 3); UW 12 (Maldonado 4). Turnovers: APB 14 (Five with 2); UW 13 (Maldonado 3). Steals: APB 2 (Brown, Vargas); UW 5 (Maldonado 3). Blocked shots: APB 2 (Williams, Vargas); UW 2 (Oden, Reynolds). Team fouls: APB 26, UW 11.

Attendance: 3,023.

Josh Criswell covers the University of Wyoming for WyoSports. He can be reached at jcriswell@wyosports.net or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @criswell_sports.

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus