Cowboys Face Second Seed Utah State in Semifinals on Friday
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Wyoming Cowboys continue their 2020 Air Force Reserve MW Basketball Championship run on Friday, March 6 at 9:30 p.m. (MT) against No. 2 Utah State in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The contest will be broadcast live on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network, as Dave Walsh will have the call with Kevin McKinney on color. You can listen to this semifinal matchup on AM 1240 KASL.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming enters the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament with a 9-23 overall record after going 2-16 in the league. The Cowboys defeated No. 3 seeded Nevada, 74-71, in the quarterfinals, extending their history run as the No. 11 seed in the tournament. Wyoming is 14-19 all-time in the MW tournament, and is 2-5 all time in the semifinals. Wyoming has shot over 40.0 percent from three in back-to-back games, and have single-digit turnovers in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Wyoming is averaging 11.0 made threes per game over the last four contests.
The Aggies enter the matchup with a 24-8 record after defeating the New Mexico Lobos in the quarterfinals by a final score of 75-70. Utah State has won seven of its last eight games and is the defending Mountain West tournament champion. Utah State led the league in the regular season in rebounding, with an average margin of +9.59. The Aggies were third in scoring, averaging 76.63 points per game, while only allowing 63.78 points per contest to rank second in the league. Utah State also led the conference in assists, averaging 16.47 helpers per night.
Each Team’s Leaders
The Cowboys are led in scoring by redshirt sophomore Hunter Maldonado, who a leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game, rebounding at 5.7 boards and assists at 4.0 dimes per game. Senior Jake Hendricks scores 10.4 points per game and has made a team-high 88 three-point field goals. That total is fourth-most in a single season in Cowboy history. Freshman Kwane Marble II averages 8.0 points per game, but is averaging 22.0 points per game in the Mountain West tournament. Defensively, Maldonado leads the Pokes with 17 blocks and 40 steals.
Utah State is led by Sam Merrill, who averages 19.2 points per game, good for second in the conference. He leads Utah State with 3.9 assists per game and pulls down 4.1 rebounds per contest. Neemias Queta averages 12.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, while Justin Bean averages a double-double with 12.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Diogo Brito puts up 8.7 points per game while collecting 4.6 rebounds per contest. Defensively, Queta leads the Aggies with 30 blocks, while Bean has a team-high 49 steals on the year.
About The Series
The Cowboys lead the all-time series against Utah State, 51-31, and are 3-2 against the Aggies on a neutral site. Utah State took both matchups this season.
The winner of the game will play in the championship game, looking for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.