Cowboy Defense Shines in 62-56 Win Over Northwest Nazarene

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (RELEASE)- The Wyoming Cowboy defense held Northwest Nazarene to 33 percent from the field and 21 percent from the three point line in a 62-56 win on Wednesday evening in an exhibition contest in the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. Senior guard Jake Hendricks led the Pokes with 23 points going 7-of-9 from the field.

“First time out in uniforms and in front of the crowd, I saw some good things and some things we need to improve on,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “It was great to get it on film and show our guys.”

The 33 percent shot by the Nighthawks would have been a season-low for a Wyoming opponent last season. Wyoming also held a 42-35 advantage on the boards for the evening. Wyoming also got out in the fast break recording nine points on the night.

“I thought we did a better job rebounding in the second half and we did a great job guarding the ball as the game got on,” Edwards said.

The Pokes shot 46 percent for the contest going 23-of-50 including shooting 63 percent in the opening frame. Wyoming also hit 35 percent from behind the arc for the first game with the new arc. Wyoming ended with eight one the night.

Hendricks was 4-of-5 from the three point line. He also added three rebounds and an assist and steal. He played 30 minutes on the night. Redshirt sophomore guard Hunter Maldonado returned to the Pokes with a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He led the Pokes with three assists on the night. Fellow redshirt sophomore Austin Mueller returned with eight rebounds and six points.

The Pokes were paced early by Hendricks with eight of the Pokes’ first 13 points, as Wyoming built an early 13-10 advantage. Wyoming opened the contest 4-of-5 from the field and 2-of-3 from behind the arc.

The Cowboys enjoyed the lead halfway through the first half building a 23-17 advantage. Once again on the hand of Hendricks. He opened 4-of-4 from the field for 13 points. Wyoming held the Nighthawks to under 40 percent from the field during that stretch.

Wyoming went on a 9-0 run to build a 32-19 lead with seven minutes remaining in the opening half. The Cowboys would maintain the double-digit lead into the break with a 43-33 advantage. Hendricks had 21 points in the first half, as Wyoming shot 63 percent and held Northwest Nazarene to 36 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

The Pokes offense went cold to open the second half, as the Nighthawks pulled within five points at 45-40 in the opening minutes of the frame. Sophomore forward Trevon “TJ” Taylor and Hendricks hit back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to nine with 13:21 left in the half.

The Wyoming defense held the Nighthawks to 1-of-8 from the field and built a 59-43 lead with 7:34 left in the contest. Maldonado and sophomore guard Greg Milton III added triples to help build the largest lead for Wyoming to that point of the game.

NNU would go on a 10-0 run over 4:34 to make it a 61-53 game with 90 seconds remaining. Wyoming recorded six turnovers during the scoring drought. But the Wyoming defense remained strong, as Wyoming took the contest 62-56.

The Nighthawks were led by Sam Roth with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jaylen Fox added 12 points for the night.

The Cowboys officially open the season next Tuesday evening against Idaho State in the Arena-Auditorium for 7 p.m. start.