San Diego State men’s basketball team has always dreaded playing in Wyoming and for good reasons. The Aztecs demonstrated that Wednesday night in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams when it lost to the Cowboys 82-69 in Laramie, Wyoming at Arena-Auditorium.
Laramie is freezing in the winter and at 7,220 feet, it’s more than enough to overwhelm the team from temperate, sea-level San Diego. Only two members of the 11-man team had played at Laramie before, team captains Malik Pope and Trey Kell, but SDSU (8-4, 0-1 MW) had hoped to use the momentum from beating then-No. 12 Gonzaga last week.
On paper, Wyoming (10-4, 1-0 MW) was supposed to be a relatively easy win for the Aztecs. San Diego State was picked to come in second in the Mountain West in the pre-season poll, the Cowboys seventh.
Instead, San Diego State’s defense was lackluster. The game featured eight lead changes before Wyoming pulled away for good with a 10-0 run at 56-50 with 14 minutes 32 seconds left to play.
Roughly a minute later, redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels pulled the Aztecs to within four at 59-55 with 12:52 to go in the game. That was the closest SDSU got before the Cowboys went on a 21-6 run that made it 80-61 with 4 minutes to go.
Pope was the scoring leader for San Diego with 21 points and nine rebounds. Devin Watson and Matt Mitchell added 13 and 11 points apiece.
Up next, San Diego State faces Utah State at home Saturday.
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