It starts with the first step for the Wyoming Cowboys. That’s their first round game against Utah State Wednesday at the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas.

The Pokes are seeking a second straight run in Vegas that ends with a championship. Ironically, UW faced the Aggies in their opener last year, but that was in the quarterfinals. This time around, Wyoming will have to win four games to reach the summit.

Senior All-conference and Player of Year selection Josh Adams says we keep the same mentality.

“What we’ve had all year is one game at a time. That’s what got it done for us last year. We took it one game at a time and won three of them, so the approach is the same. Focus on the next team which is Utah State.”

The Cowboys beat the Aggies 84-65 on Feb. 6 in their only meeting this season. UW accomplished that thanks to a school record 20 three’s in the game. At the tournament a year ago, the Pokes prevailed 67-65 over Utah State.

Wyoming knows the Aggies are is a dangerous opponent. Junior Jason McManamen, who received Honorable Mention All-MW, said they’ve got experience.

“We know that Utah State’s a veteran team; they’re tough. We shot the ball against them really well last game… We know it’s going to be a close game, a battle, just like every other game has been this year for us. We’re confident going in with what we have, and what we’re going to do.”

The Aggies are led by senior Chris Smith and junior Jalen Moore. Both average just over 15 points per game, and both received Third Team All-MW honors earlier this week.

UW is down to nine players after the recent suspension of five. Both Adams and McManamen, as well as head coach Larry Shyatt said they’re focused on Utah State and themselves, not who won’t be there.

Wyoming (14-17) looks to defend their crown, as the Cowboys face the Utah State Aggies (15-14) in the opening game of the 2016 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships. Tip-off is at noon, Mountain Time.

The winner advances to take on top seed San Diego State in the quarterfinals Thursday at 1 p.m.

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