Pokes can’t overcome miscues in 66-58 loss to Indiana
DAYTON, Ohio -- The Cowboys season came to an end on Tuesday evening, falling to Indiana 66-58 in the First Four of the NCAA tournament in University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
The Pokes finished the season with a 25-9 record and made their 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Wyoming was led by Hunter Maldonado with 21 points and five assists. Graham Ike added 17 points and nine rebounds on the night. Drake Jeffries snagged 10 rebounds and finished the game with four points.
The Pokes shot 44 percent for the game and held Indiana to 42 percent, but the Hoosiers held a 39-30 advantage on the glass. Indiana recorded 33 combined points on second chances and off turnovers.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the early goings with the Hoosiers opening the ball game with a bucket and Hunter Thompson answering with a three-pointer. Indiana went scoreless for over three-minutes until Parker Stewart added a bucket for a 4-3 game with 16:30 left in the first half.
Indiana’s Xavier Johnson added a three-pointer and Race Thompson added a dunk for a 9-3 lead for Indiana, as Wyoming went scoreless for nearly five minutes. Wyoming added a 5-0 run with baskets from Maldonado and a triple from Brendan Wenzel for a 9-8 game with 13:20 left in the first frame.
The Pokes went on another scoring drought this time of over five minutes, but defensively Wyoming would hold as the Hoosiers could only build a 13-10 lead. Maldonado made it a 13-10 contest with a jumper at the 7:43 mark.
Ike made it a 13-13 contest with an and-one play at the 6:48 mark of the frame. Maldonado gave the Pokes the lead by two with a layup, but the Hoosiers tied it right away for a 15-15 game five minutes left in the half.
The Pokes would use threes from Jeremiah Oden and Thompson, but the Hoosiers went to the paint and used an and-one from Trayce Jackson-Davis to take a 22-21 lead with just over three minutes left in the stanza.
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The Hoosiers would use the free throw line and turnovers to take 30-25 lead at the break. Wyoming held the Hoosiers to 32 percent from the field, but the Pokes recorded 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
Both teams traded baskets early in the first half, but the Pokes found themselves down seven until Maldonado hit a triple for a 34-30 game with 17:22 remaining. Ike added another and-one for a one-point deficit at 34-33, but the Hoosiers added a pair of buckets to push it back to five ninety seconds later.
The Pokes would cut it back to three points, but the Hoosiers 5-0 run to take a 45-37 lead with 11:22 remaining. The run was halted by an upper from Ike a minute later for a 45-39 game.
The lead would go to nine points for IU, but back-to-back baskets from Ike and Maldonado made it a 49-44 game with 7:18 remaining.
The Hoosiers pushed the lead to eight points, as Wyoming would go scoreless for nearly three minutes with Maldonado ending the slide with a layup for a 52-46 game with 4:29 left. The contest would move to nine points until Wenzel hit free throws for a 56-49 game with 2:45 remaining.
The Hoosiers made it a 10 points game, but Maldonado added a four-point play for a 60-54 game with ninety seconds remaining. But Indiana added a bucket and hit free throws to take the game and move on to the next round of the Tournament.
Indiana was led by Jackson-Davis, as he added 29 points on the night on 10-of-16 shooting.
The Cowboys 25 wins was the most in a season since 25 during the 2014-15 season in which the Pokes made the NCAA Tournament.