In what was a matchup of the top two teams in the Mountain West, the Wyoming Cowboys avenged their only conference loss snapping Boise State’s 14-game winning streak with a 72-65 win thanks to 33 points from Graham Ike. The Pokes moved to 10-0 at home this season and are 18-3 overall and 7-1 in the MW, as Wyoming sits atop the league, as both teams have one last on the season.
“We knew at halftime that it was like a 0-0 game (game tied 28-28), and we were playing one of the hottest if not the hottest teams with a lot of toughness and a lot of grit,” Uw head coach Jeff Linder said. “We knew we had to make more winning plays, and we had to be the tougher team in the second half. For us to come out and play a team in Boise, that is talked about as an elite defensive team and an elite rebounding team, and for us to hold them to 39 percent shooting and out-rebound them shows our collective grit and toughness as a team.”
Ike recorded 22 points in the second half, as he also added 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. He has scored 20 or more points in in 10 games this season. Hunter Maldonado added 16 points along with seven assists. Jeremiah Oden added 13 points for his ninth game in double-figures this season. Wyoming is 9-0 this season when he is in double-figures. Drake Jeffries added a career-high 10 rebounds in the contest.
“Our guys did a great job of focusing in on the scouting report and it helped that we had already played them earlier this year,” Linder said. I thought we did a tremendous job on (Marcus) Shaver. For Drake (Jeffries) to chase him around all night and do a really good job late, knowing that they were going to try and get the ball to him. It was a great collective effort by our guys. Graham (Ike) is an outstanding player. It makes it a lot easier as a head coach when you can just throw the ball into him and let him do his thing.”
Wyoming shot 49 percent from the field for the night and held Boise State to 39 percent. It marked the eighth game an opponent shot 40 percent or lower from the field. The Pokes also won the battle on the glass for the sixth straight game at 35-33. Wyoming recorded only six turnovers tying a season low. Wyoming also tied a season high with 11 fast break points.
Just like the first meeting in Boise, both teams got off to a slow start offensively, but Jeremiah Oden banked in the Pokes first three of the night and Maldonado added a layup to give the Pokes a 7-2 lead in the opening four minutes.
The Pokes would make four-straight baskets including a huge slam from Ike to take a 15-7 lead. Maldonado did most of the work in the paint adding three baskets for the Brown and Gold. Abu Kigab recorded an and-one play to make it a two-point contest at 17-15 halfway through the half.
Boise State tied the game on a Max Rice jumper for a 19-19 game with 7:40 remaining in the first half. Kigab gave the Broncos the 21-20 lead at the 5:24 for their first lead of the game. The Pokes would go scoreless for over two minutes, as Boise State took a two-point lead, but Brendan Wenzel banked in a three for a 25-24 lead for the Pokes with 2:22 left in the half.
Oden would drop in a three-pointer, as the Broncos added a pair of baskets to make it a 28-28 game at the half. Boise State scored 10 points on second chances in the first half shooting 38 percent with the Pokes shooting 43 percent.
Boise State recorded a pair of three pointers after Ike opened the second half with a bucket for a 34-30 bronco lead in the opening two minutes. The Broncos pushed the lead to five points, but a pair of free throws from Ike and an and-one from Maldonado off a steal tied the game at 38-38 with 15:45 left in the game.
Ike gave the Pokes a 42-40 lead in a jumper a minute later. Ike added another layup and freebies followed by an and-one from Oden for a 47-40 lead with 11 minutes remaining. The run ended with a triple from Rice for a 47-43 game a minute later.
Boise State would hold the Pokes to only one make over three minutes along with two freebies from the Pokes, BSU made it a 53-49 game with 7:18 left in the contest. Shaver added a basket and a turnover by Maldonado turned into a bucket from Kigab for a 54-53 game with 5:25 remaining.
Shaver raced to the basket for a bucket for the Boise State lead at 55-54, but Maldonado added an and-one for a 57-55 with 4:25 left. Drake Jeffries added a three-ball for his first of the game followed by a layup from Ike for a 62-57 Wyoming lead with 3:07 remaining.
The Broncos used the free throw line to make it a 62-60 game in favor of the Pokes with 2:11 remaining. But a jumper from Ike would make it a 64-60 contest with 1:49 left. Both teams would hit free throws later, but the Pokes hit their last five shots of the game and hit late freebies for the 72-65 win.
The Broncos were led by Kigab with 26 points on the night. He also led the team with nine rebounds.
Wyoming takes to the road, traveling to Fresno State on Sunday for a 5 p.m. tip inside Save Mart Center.