In a rematch to last year’s classic in Laramie, the Wyoming Cowboys held off a comeback from Utah Valley to win 93-88 Saturday afternoon at the UCCU Center in Orem.
With the loss, their second in a row at home, UVU falls to 2-3 on the season. UW improves to 5-1.
The game saw plenty of back and forth from the beginning, as UVU and UW traded 3’s early in the game. Sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq led the way for UVU, scoring 27 points, including 11 from the free throw line, and broke the school’s rebounding record with 20 boards. Junior guard Trey Woodbury would score 23 and sophomore guard Jordan Brinson scored 19.
The Wolverines found themselves outmatched from beyond the arc as UW shot 52% with 13 3’s, including a second chance three to put the Cowboys up 90-85 with 45 seconds left. Although Woodbury would answer with his own, the game was sealed by Wyoming free throws.
UVU found themselves trailing for most of the first half and UW responded every time the Wolverines tried to cut into the deficit.. The Cowboys entered the break with a 48-41 lead. Head coach Mark Madsen expressed his disappointment with how the team played.
“We have to have a better first half,” he said.” We had five or six defensive lapses in the first half and we dug ourselves into a hole. And that’s part of the learning process but we cannot have those lapses in the first half.”
The second half saw UVU rally and cut UW’s lead down to three as the teams traded momentum. Finally, with under five minutes to go, UVU tied the game up at 76 and took their first lead of the half, 79-78. The Wolverines kept up with UW, until that late three put the Cowboys up five with under a minute.
“Conversely, the second half…(the team) executed the game plan almost to a T,” Madsen said. “As we build consistency, we’ll be able to weather through the entirety of the game and play a tough opponent like Wyoming, and be able to come away with the win. This game slipped away from us in the first half. We battled back and we fought, but it wasn’t enough… we have to be better.”