Cowboys Fail to Overcome Slow Start in NCAA Tournament Loss
The Wyoming Cowboys run in the NCAA Tournament was short-lived. They lost to the Northern Iowa Panthers 71-54 Friday in Seattle.
Northern Iowa (31-3) jumped out to a 21-point lead early in the second half. The Cowboys rallied within seven, but the Panthers withstood the challenge.
UNI began the second half on an 11-1 run for a 46-25 lead. Larry Nance Jr. spearheaded the comeback. He scored 13 straight points for the Pokes. It was a Charles Hankerson Jr. three-pointer that cut the lead to 50-43 with 10:34 left. The Cowboys couldn't get any closer.
Wyoming (25-10) was led by Nance. In his final game as a Cowboy, he scored only one point in the first half, but finished with 16 points. Hankerson added 15 points on five 3-pointers. UW shot 46 percent from the field and made 9 three-point field goals. They had 14 assists and 12 turnovers.
The Panthers were led by 16 points from Paul Jesperson off the bench. He was one of five UNI players in double figures. They also shot 46 percent from the floor and went 16-of-18 (89%) at the foul line. Northern Iowa came up with nine steals and had only seven turnovers.
One key was the bench play. The Panthers had 41 points compared to only two by the Cowboys.
UW started 4-4 on field goals, but quickly cooled off. UNI responded with a 10-0 spurt for an 18-9 lead. The Panthers pushed out to an 11-point edge, 35-24, at halftime.
Northern Iowa advances to face the winner of the Louisville-UC Irvine in the third round Sunday.
Wyoming has concluded their season. It was highlighted by their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years, and the school's first ever Mountain West Conference tournament championship.