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Cowboys compete but can't outlast Vols

Muojeke gets stuffed

For 15 minutes it looked as if the Wyoming Cowboys were on their way to a stunning upset over the #8 Tennessee Volunteers. Wyoming started with a 7-0 lead before Tennessee came back to tie the game, the Cowboys kept fighting and surged to a 35-25 with 5:30 remaining in the first half. The Vols clawed their way back and took a 42-41 lead at halftime.

Coach Bruce Pearl gave his team one heck of a pep talk as they came storming out of the gates to start the second half. They turned the pressure up on defense and outscored Wyoming 35-17 in the second half en route to a 77-58 victory. Tennessee improved to 8-1 on the season while Wyoming drops back to .500 and now sits at 5-5.

The Cowboys are typically a terrible three point shooting team but they actually had some success early on from long range. Afam Muojeke and Ryan Dermody both hit two treys early and they 4 for 7 early on. That early success probably hurt the Pokes as they continued to shoot from long range and missed their last 14 attempts finishing 4 for 21 for the game.

Ball control was issue all night for Wyoming with 16 turnovers in the first half and 29 for the game. Afam Muojeke just needed three more rebounds for a triple double: 15 points 7 rebounds and 10 turnovers. Muojeke shot 4 for 15 from the field and was 2 for 11 on three pointers.

Scotty Hopson was a spark plug in the second half for the Vols and led the team with 14 points. Tyler Smith finished with 10 points and 4 assists. Tennessee shot 47% from the field but knocked down only 4 of 20 three pointers.
While this does go down as a loss this was mostly a great experience for a young Cowboy team. Competing against a top 10 team on their own court and leading them for nearly the entire first half hopefully boosted the confidence of some players. Sure the second half was pretty ugly but the Cowboys can compete and should hopefully improve their game as the conference schedule starts up soon.
The Vols shutdown the inside game for the Cowboys in the second half and forced them to shoot from outside. Three point shooting will never be a strength for the Pokes this season but developing a mid range game would certaintly help. The Pokes made 20 of 25 free throws during the game with 17 attempts coming in the first half. They continue to lead the nation in free throws made with 254. When Tennessee stopped Wyoming from getting inside they also stopped the Pokes from getting to the free throw line. Instead the Cowboys settled for off-balance jumpers and 24 foot three pointers.

Cowboy Joe: A.J. Davis put up nine seven rebounds and was hustling all game long. Really attacked the basket in the first half. Only had two turnovers.
Cowboy Low: Afam Muojeke - Yes, he led the team in scoring with 15 but kept shooting 3 pointers from five feet behind the line and had 10 turnovers. Really tried to do too much himself and took tons of bad shots.
Cowboy Foe: Scotty Hopson blew up in the second half and made tons of athletic plays on both sides of the court.