Cowboys Drop Battle in The Valley Against Fresno State, 63-55

Sophomore Trevon "TJ" Taylor against Fresno State.
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FRESNO, Calif. (RELEASE)- The Cowboys dropped a 63-55 defensive battle against Fresno State on Saturday afternoon in the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. in the regular season finale. Both teams shot under 40 percent for the contest, as Fresno State overcame a second half deficit to earn the victory.

“Getting ready for Fresno State we knew about how they shot the three ball and their inside play our game plan was to defend the three-point line and be aggressive blitzing the basketball and I thought we did a good job of that,” Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. “We got caught in some scenarios in the second half. We made some youthful mistake down the stretch.”

The Pokes were led by sophomore Trevon “TJ” Taylor, as he added 19 points for his ninth game in double-figures this season. He tied a career-high with four three-pointers for the afternoon. He has 10 or more points in three of his last four games. Senior Jake Hendricks added 13 points and moved to seventh in single season three-pointers with 80 and is tied for ninth in career threes with 147. Senior guard A.J. Banks added nine points, as him and Hendricks added a team-high six rebounds.

Wyoming was held to 36 percent from the field for the game. The Pokes held Fresno State to 39 percent from the field. The Bulldogs held a 40-30advantage on the glass and added 22 points in the paint holding Wyoming to only 12 points for the afternoon. Fresno State had 17 points from the free throw line with seven for the Pokes.

“We missed some front ends of one-and-ones and we have to understand who were are and in certain situations and especially at the free throw line we have to execute,” Edwards said. “We went out and competed tonight and TJ played so well tonight and continues to develop.”

The Pokes got out to a 7-2 start in the opening two minutes of the contest with buckets from Maldonado, Hendricks and Banks. Later in the game, either team could add to their offensive output, as Jake Hendricks would add a three pointer for the Pokes halting a nearly five minute scoreless streak to give Wyoming a 12-5 advantage with 11:52 left in the first half.

Both teams would go scoreless for over three minutes, as Fresno would cut the deficit to 15-13 with just under five minutes left in the first half.Wyoming would continue the drought going nearly six minutes, but sophomore Trevon “TJ” Taylor added a jumper to make it a 17-15 game for Wyoming with 2:51 left in the first frame.

Fresno State would take its first lead at 18-17 on a three-pointer from Niven Hart with 1:11 remaining in the half. But that was responded with a jumper from Banks. Fresno added another three, but Maldonado closed the half with a step back three-pointer for a 22-21 lead for the Pokes after 20 minutes.

Wyoming held the Bulldogs 27 percent from the field in the opening half. Wyoming also added 12 points off turnovers in the period.

The Pokes opened the second period with a 7-0 run in the opening two minutes to build a 29-21 advantage. Taylor hit a three-pointer followed by a layup from Maldonado and freebies from Marble III. Taylor added his second three pointer of the game to build a 34-26 lead for the Pokes, but Jarred Hider added an and-one play the following possession.

The Bulldogs hit five-straight field goals to tie the contest at 38-38 with 12:28 left in the game. Wyoming would go scoreless for over three minutes, as Fresno State built a 47-41 advantage with 7:54 left in the game. The Pokes would cut the Fresno State lead to two points at 51-49 on a Hendricks four-point play with 4:50 left in the game.

Fresno Would build the lead back to five points at 54-49, but Banks added a three-pointer for a 54-52 game with 2:15 remaining in the final period. It was the Pokes’ 10th triple of the game. Banks would add a reverse layup to make it a two-point game again, but New Williams hit a three with 50 seconds left to make it a 59-54 game and hit free throws late to take the game 63-55.

The Bulldogs were led by Hyder with 11 points along with Hart adding 11 points. Nate Grimes added nine points and led all players with 14 rebounds.

Wyoming will head to Las Vegas to take part in the 2020 Air Force Reserve MW Basketball Championship at the Thomas and Mack Center. The Cowboys will open on Wednesday in the first round of the tournament.