Hayden Dalton scored a career-high 36 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Wyoming Cowboys past San Diego State 82-69 Wednesday night in Laramie.

Dalton shot 10-17 from the floor, including 5-9 from beyond the arc. His five 3-pointers tied a career best. He added 11-14 from the foul line. Dalton’s point total matched the fourth most in the history of the Arena-Auditorium.

Down 40-37 at halftime, the Cowboys broke open a tight game when they went on a 25-7 run. That took place over five-and-a-half minutes of the second half. UW went from down 46-50 to a 71-57 lead with 9:50 left. Dalton had nine during that stretch, while both Cody Kelley and Alexander Aka Gorski knocked down a pair of three’s.

The lead grew to 19 points, 80-61, on a dunk by Dalton with just under four minutes left. The Aztecs closed the gap a little, but the Cowboys held on.

Wyoming (10-4, 1-0) won its Mountain West opener for the second straight year. The Pokes shot 46 percent from the floor. They went 12-29 (41%) from deep and 16-22 (73%) at the foul line.

Kelley was the only other Cowboy in double figures with 14 points. Dalton added a team-high five assists. Freshman Hunter Maldonado contributed six points, six rebounds and four assists. UW was out-rebounded 35-40, but was plus-5 in the second half.

San Diego State (8-4, 0-1) was led by Malik Pope with 21 points. The Aztecs shot 41 percent from the floor and went 9-24 (37.5%) from deep.

The Cowboys started the game with a 15-7 lead behind three’s from Kelley and Dalton. A 10-3 spurt from San Diego State game them 22-21 lead midway through the first half. That advantage reached five at the 7:26 mark, which was the Aztecs biggest of the game. Wyoming regained the lead twice in the final four minutes of the half, but a three from Devin Watson and a jumper by Pope gave San Diego State a 40-37 edge at halftime.

This was UW’s first win over the Aztecs since the 2015 Mountain West Tournament Championship game in Las Vegas March 14, 2015.

The Cowboys now have a week off before their next conference game at league favorite Nevada next Wednesday, Jan. 3 in Reno. Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

More From Rock 96.7