Wyoming pulls away in second half to down McNeese
Laramie, Wyoming - McNeese freshmen Christian Shumate and Trae English each scored 12 points but Wyoming was able to get points in the paint late while knocking down key three-pointers in a 79-58 win over the blue and gold Cowboys.
The loss dropped McNeese’s record to 3-6 on the season while Wyoming remained perfect at 8-0.
Wyoming had four players score in double figures, led by Hunter Maldonaldo’s 20 points. Graham Ike added 18 points and 10 rebounds while Jeremiah Oden scored 13 with 10 boards. Brendan Wenzel added 11 points.
McNeese came out Saturday with a good game plan that was able to hold Wyoming well beneath its shooting average from both the field and three-point range. The Cowboys also only turned the ball over seven times, a season-low, and far better than the 27 giveaways against Seattle on Wednesday.
Wyoming scored the game’s first six points as both teams struggled to connect on shots early on. The lead grew to 16-7 with 9:48 to play in the first half until McNeese got on a roll offensively.
A 7-0 run that included a three-pointer by Hardin Francois, cut the deficit to 16-14. Then after a Wyoming basket snapped the run, McNeese started another one behind back-to-back layups by Christian Shumate to tie the game at 18-18, then another Francois three put McNeese on top 21-18 with six minutes remaining in the half.
Wyoming scored six straight to go back up 24-21 but a 3 by English was followed by another Shumate layup to give McNeese the lead back at 26-24 with 2:55 to go.
Wyoming ended the half on a 9-0 run to take a 33-26 lead into the break.
The home team Cowboys added to the run with four straight points to open up the second half and grew their lead to 50-35 following a Maldonaldo layup and free throw at the 13:20 mark.
McNeese battled back behind back-to-back threes from Collin Warren and English to cut the margin to nine points at 50-41 with 12:19 to go but Wyoming scored consecutive baskets to go back up by double digits and kept McNeese from getting to within single digits the rest of the way.
McNeese shot 23 of 65 (35.4 percent) from the field and 8 of 31 (25.8) from 3-point range. Wyoming sank 27 of 62 (43.5) overall and 7 of 24 (29.2) from behind the arc. Wyoming hit 18 of 24 at the free-throw line while McNeese was 4 of 11.
Wyoming held a 50-34 advantage in rebounds and 36-22 win with points in the paint. McNeese outscored Wyoming 41-16 in bench points.
The Cowboys will be back in action on Wednesday when they visit ULL.
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