by staff–7 Feb’ 21
The Wyoming Cowboys nearly erased an 18-point deficit, coming within one point in the final minutes, but Colorado State held on to take the series finale 68-59 on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys fall to 10-9 overall and 4-8 in conference play, as Colorado State improves to 14-4 and 11-3 in the MW.
“It’s hard against a team (Colorado State) like that when you spot them an 18-point lead in the first 15 minutes of the game,” UW head coach Jeff Linder said. “Give credit to them. They came out tonight kind of like we did in the first game. We were on our heels a little bit tonight. Marcus (Williams) was battling some stomach issues and was out of sorts. But credit to our guys, especially that last group that came in there that last five or six minutes — Kwane (Marble), Drake (Jeffries), Maldo (Hunter Maldonado), X (Xavier DuSell) and Graham (Ike) — they really turned the course of the game, and we did it on the defensive end. The last 25 minutes of that game, we probably held them under 38 percent shooting, and that’s what allowed us a chance to get back into the game. But you have to expend so much energy to make a run like that and when you look at the number of bodies we have available it was just too hard to overcome that early deficit.”
Wyoming was led by Graham Ike and Drake Jeffries, as they each added 13 points. Ike added a team-high nine rebounds, which is also a career-high. He scored nine of his points in the second half. Jeffries reached double-figures for the first time since the series finale at Air Force.
The Pokes were held to six three pointers, as Wyoming had at least 10 or more in the previous seven games. On the flip side, Wyoming held the Rams to 3-of-17 from behind the arc. CSU shot 51 percent from the field, but were held to only seven field goals in the second half.
The Rams jumped out to an early 7-1 lead on the Pokes in the opening minutes of action, as Wyoming opened 0-of-5 from the field. The Aggies would open the game 5-of-7 from the field and take a 14-8 advantage with under 14 minutes remaining.
The Pokes would go scoreless for six minutes, as the Rams built a 26-8 lead midway through the half. Junior Drake Jeffries ended the drought for the Cowboys, followed by a layup from freshman Graham Ike for a 29-13 game with 7:34 left in the first frame.
The Pokes would use a 6-0 run over two minutes to cut the Colorado State lead to 12 points with 1:48 left in the half. Jeffries added two free throws , as the Rams took a 39-29 lead into the locker room.
Jeffries would hit a three to open the scoring for the Pokes in the second half making it a nine-point contest at 41-32. The Rams would add a bucket to push the lead back to double-digits, as both teams would go scoreless for three minutes until a pair of free throws by Jeremiah Oden made it a 43-34 game with 15:50 left in the game.
Jeffries added a triple and freshman Marcus Williams added a layup to make it a four-point game at 45-41 with 13:28 remaining. The Rams would add a pair of free throws and a fast break layup to push the lead to eight points with 11 minutes to play.
Wyoming would make it a five point game with under six and a half minutes left, as CSU held a 56-51 advantage. A minute later Ike would make it a three point game, but Colorado State’s Isaiah Stevens pushed the lead back to five points at the free throw line.
Ike helped lead the Pokes to within one point, as he recorded six-straight for the Cowboys making it 60-59 with 2:27 remaining. But Roddy pushed the lead back to three points at the line 20 seconds later.
Roddy added a layup with 43 seconds remaining to make it a 64-59 game. The Rams would ice the game from the line and took the contest 68-59.
The Rams were led by Roddy with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Wyoming heads to Utah State to take on the Aggies on Wednesday evening in Logan. The contest is set for a 6 p.m. start.
POST GAME COMMENTS FROM DRAKE JEFFRIES
POST GAME COMMENTS FROM GRAHAM IKE
POST GAME COMMENTS FROM JEFF LINDER