Slow starts have plagued the Wyoming men’s basketball team all season. Saturday’s game at UNLV was simply the latest chapter of that saga.

The Cowboys brought back visions of the 25-0 chasm they found themselves in against Air Force in the Mountain West tournament last season by falling behind 19-2 right out of the gate at the Thomas and Mack Center once again.

Yet somehow Wyoming rallied furiously to eventually take a one-point lead in the second half. That lead lasted for just 18 seconds. The Cowboys then ran out of gas and UNLV regained the lead for good to hand Wyoming its fifth conference loss, 85-70.

Wyoming (16-9, 7-5 Mountain West) missed its first nine shots before a Cody Kelley layup 5:21 into the game became the team’s first made field goal. At that point UNLV was already in double digits. The Rebels led for all but the opening 37 seconds in the first half.

UNLV (18-7, 7-5) led by as much as 21 before the shots started to fall and Wyoming went into the break down by 10 having shot just 38.5 percent.

When the Cowboys sprinted out of the half they did so on the back of Hayden Dalton, who scored 18 of his team-high 21 in the second half. Dalton shot 1-of-6 in the first half but finished 7 for 14. Justin James struggled his way toward 14 points while shooting 6-of-23 from the field.

A tip-in from Dalton gave Wyoming a 50-49 lead to cap a 15-2 run but UNLV immediately answered and pulled away.

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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