January 17, 2022 |

Wyoming basketball returned with the Cowboys winning their conference opener 71-69 over Utah State. Waylaid by COVID protocols for the last two weeks, the Cowboys picked up where they left on Christmas Day. It was worth the wait. Saturday night’s matchup at Logan turned into a nail-biter. The lead changed 10 times. The deciding score came on Wyoming’s final play, drawn up during their last time out.

Reese Monaco had the call as Graham Ike’s clutch bucket gave Wyoming a two-point lead. It held, and the Cowboys won their conference opener 71-69. The Cowboys hadn’t played a game since Christmas day, but the rust did not show. The Cowboys played with the same intensity they showed during the 11-2 non-conference schedule, and showed they can still close strong.

The Pokes shot 52 percent from the field in the game and 38 percent from behind the arc. Ike and guard Hunter Maldonado combined for 44 points with 23 from Ike and 21 from Maldonado. Guard Drake Jeffries added 14 points on 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Forward Jeremiah Oden added 11 points for the Pokes. All that from a team that had played only three games in the 35 days leading up to Saturday’s matchup. Head Coach Jeff Linder said the Cowboys are one impressive bunch.

The Cowboys remain on the road for a game tonight at Nevada. The status of Xavier DuSell has not been announced. The Sophomore guard from Scottsdale fell to the floor on the final play of the game clutching a hamstring. He had to be carried off the floor at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Coach Linder said after the game it was too early to say if Dusell would play tonight or not.

With or without DuSell, Wyoming is in Reno tonight for a make-up game with Nevada. Tip time against the Wolf Pack is set for 6 p.m. Bigfoot 99 will be on the air with the radio broadcast beginning at 5:30.

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