The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team lost to the University of California Santa Barbara 76 – 66 this past Tuesday at the Arena Auditorium in Laramie.
Senior Justin James led the Cowboys with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Hunter Maldonado had 12 points and red shirt freshman Hunter Thompson had 10.
“I thought the guys played gritty,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “We had opportunities, but at the point where we had just a one-point deficit and we missed a free throw to tie it, after that we started gambling rather than continuing to play solid.”
James scored most of his points in the second half, putting up 17. He shot 5-of-14 from the field and went 10-of-14 on free throws to accumulate his 20 points. He went 0-of-5 on three – pointers.
“What I love about J.J. (Justin James) is while we know his ability to play against anyone, I like the way he has believed in this process with these new guys,” Edwards said. “Obviously it was a blow losing (Hunter) Thompson in the middle, but I thought J.J. did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He also led us in assists with four. He didn’t shoot it particularly well tonight, especially from three. But he’s special.” Thompson went 4-of-6 from the field and had 10 of the Cowboys’ points. Unfortunately, he left the game in the second half due to injury. The Cowboys have not said the extent of his injury, but he was undergoing concussion protocol.
“At the end of the day, injury has plagued us a little bit,” Edwards said. “Losing the top two hurt us.”
The Cowboys put up 35 points in the first half, as opposed to UCSB’s 39. The score was tied 4 times and the lead changed 12 times throughout the first half.
In the second half, the Cowboys were only able to rack up 31 points, whereas UCSB had 37 to win the game 76 – 66. The score was never tied and there were no lead changes in the second half.
“It was just the shot selection,” Justin James said. “Even though we were open sometimes some of the shots were rushed and every time we saw the opportunity to take a three we just took it, myself included.”
The Cowboys next game will be on the road against Oregon State University this Saturday, November 10 at 1 pm MST. The Cowboys will return home next Wednesday, November 14 to take on Grambling State University.
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