A horrid start led to a 25-0 deficit, and the Wyoming Cowboys never recovered in an 83-68 loss to Air Force Wednesday at the Mountain West Tournament.

It’s the second consecutive season the Pokes have been ousted in the first round of the Mountain West Championships in blowout fashion. UW fell to Utah State last year, 88-70.

After the game, Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards praised the Falcons and knew they dug too deep of a hole.

“Obviously, first, just all the credit to Air Force. I thought they came out with some tremendous excitement for the tournament, shot the ball really, really well in the first half. And we were forced into a situation of playing catch-up for pretty much the whole game. I couldn't say we were horrible on defense, I thought they made some tough shots, as well.”

Wyoming (18-14) went scoreless for the first 8:35 of the game. Meanwhile, Air Force started 9-for-13 from the field. It was a Cody Kelley three-pointer that finally got UW on the board at the 11:25 mark. The Falcons maintained a lead of over 20 points the rest of the half, as they shot 53 percent and were ahead 48-27 at the break.

Edwards added, “They got the ball moving and on defense I thought they had a tremendous edge, which affected our scoring on the offensive end.”

The Cowboys trimmed it to 56-40 early in the second half, but that’s as close as they got. Air Force responded with a surge that put them up 70-46, and they closed it out over the final eight minutes.

UW was led by Justin James with 20 points, while Hayden Dalton added 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Pokes shot just under 41 percent for the game. They were only 32 percent in the first half. Wyoming also committed 20 turnovers that led to 16 Falcons points.

Air Force had four players in double figures led by Jacob Van with 18 points. They shot just over 41 percent for the game. The Falcons also went 29-of-34, 85 percent, from the foul line.

Wyoming is now 1-5 all-time in the first round of the MW Tournament. That includes a loss to Air Force back in 2010, which was the last time these two schools met in the Mountain West Championships.

More From KOWB 1290