Cowboys Down Pioneers in an Overtime Thriller, 72-66

Hunter Maldonado led Wyoming with 20 points in overtime win against Denver, 72-66.
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DENVER, Col. (RELEASE)- A trio of Cowboys combined for 55 points in a 72-66 overtime win on the road over Denver on Saturday afternoon in Magness Arena. Wyoming held the Pioneers to 36 percent from the field for the sixth game this season holding the opposition to under 40 percent from the field.

“This has been a tough play for us to play, Larry Nance had 38 points and we lost, but to be able to come in and get a win is great and proud of our guys,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “Our guys as a whole did a great job of understanding what we wanted to do defensively and they really executed.”

The Cowboys opened the overtime session on a 9-0 run for a 67-58 lead, as Wyoming went 6-of-6 from the line during that stretch with a triple blended in by Hendricks. Jace Townsend led the Pioneers to a 6-0 for a 67-64 game with 1:06 left in the overtime frame. The Wyoming leads went to as small as two points, but free throws sealed the Pokes second overtime win of the season.

Redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado led the Pokes with 20 points for his fourth 20 point game of the season and his third in the last four games. Senior guard Jake Hendricks added 19 points for a season-high. He did so hitting a season best five threes. Sophomore Trevon “TJ” Taylor added 16 points and seven rebounds going 7-of-7 from the line.

Wyoming shot 40 percent from the field on the night and 36 percent from behind the arc in the second half on their way to the win. Wyoming also held Denver to only one field goal in the overtime period. Wyoming shot 75 percent from the charity stripe and 14-of-18 in the second half and overtime. Denver was 16-of-34 from the line for 47 percent. Wyoming also protected the paint with six blocks for the game.

The Pokes and Pioneers battled early with Denver taking a 9-8 advantage in the first five minutes. The Pioneers open the contest shooting 67 percent from the three-point line.

Hendricks would tie the contest at 17-17 with just under 11 minutes left in the first frame and Maldonado gave Wyoming a 19-17 advantage 30 seconds later. But a streak of turnovers and a 7-0 run by Denver made it a 24-19 game with 8:14 remaining in the frame.

A lob dunk from Maldonado to A.J. Banks highlighted a 9-0 run for the Pokes to give Wyoming a 28-24 with under four minutes left in the opening Stanza. Wyoming held the Pioneers scoreless for five minute during the stretch.

Wyoming would not allow a basket in the final 8:14 of the half and took a 34-26 lead into the break. Sophomore Brandon Porter added a steal and hammer fast break dunk late in the half and Maldonado finished the frame with 15 points.

The Pokes upped the lead to double-digits to open the second half tanks to Maldonado and a three pointer from Jake Hendricks to make it a 39-29 contest. But the Pioneers responded with a 9-0 run to make it a 39-38 game with 13:36 left in the game.

Hendricks responded with a three and four-point play to make it a 46-38 game with 12:43 left. The Pioneers would not go away going on a 13-0 run to take a 54-49 lead with 4:26 left. Wyoming went scoreless for nearly six minutes until Hendricks hit a three pointer for a 54-52 contest with 3:58 left.

Taylor would make his third and-one play of the game to give Wyoming a 55-54 lead at the 3:18 mark of the second frame. He would bank in a desperation three pointer for a 58-54 contest with 1:54 left. But the Pioneers tied the contest with under and both teams had a shot to win late, but the game went to overtime at 58-58.

Townsend led the Pioneers with 24 points for the night going 8-of-20 from the field. DU’s top scorer Ade Murkey added 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Cowboys return to action next Saturday hosting Nebraska Wesleyan in a 4 p.m. start in the Arena-Auditorium.