Sophomore forward Derek Cooke Jr. posted a career-high 15 points, but the University of Wyoming men's basketball team dropped a 65-42 Mountain West game to UNLV on Saturday night in the Arena-Auditorium.
The Rebels (21-7, 8-5) jumped on the Pokes (18-9, 4-9 MW) from the start to amass a 32-12 halftime advantage and led by as much as 27 late in the second half.
"We went into a buzz saw tonight, and compliments to Vegas," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "For me personally, it was a real disappointment because I think we've worked so hard to build back a culture here and build back a community of fans that come to watch toughness, energy, discipline and passion. Again, I apologize for our performance tonight. The only thing we can do is go back to work tomorrow and play a much better game Tuesday night at the Air Force Academy."
Cooke notched his point total thanks to a career-high seven field goals on 10 attempts, as he added nine rebounds and tied a career-high with 28 minutes of action.
Senior guard Derrious Gilmore added seven points and freshman forward Austin Haldorson had six, while both posted two steals.
Sophomore guard Riley Grabau notched four assists. Senior forward Leonard Washington missed his second-straight game with an ankle injury.
Wyoming shot just 28 percent (17-of-59) from the field and 22 percent (4-of-18) from beyond the arc to 50 percent (27-of-54) and 33 percent (3-of-9) for UNLV.
The Rebels earned a 47-25 advantage on the boards, 13-9 in assists and 3-0 in blocks. UW's last two opponents have both shot over 50 percent from the field.
"UNLV did take advantage of Leonard [Washington] being out, and they did an outstanding job of hitting the offensive boards," Shyatt said. "I thought we had a great effort from Derek Cooke, and we had a couple other good individual efforts. But nonetheless, they played without their lottery pick, and still played very good basketball, very smart basketball -- under control. They played the game today the way we would like to."
Free throws from Gilmore brought Wyoming within 20 four minutes into the second half, but quick 7-0 spurt put the Rebels back up by 24 and they cruised from there. Cooke had 11 points and three rebounds in the second half.
Wyoming returns to action at Air Force on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Clune Arena.
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