Behind a career-high 32 points from Hunter Maldonado, the Wyoming Cowboys won their 2019-20 season opener 54-40 over Idaho State Tuesday night in Laramie.

Maldonado scored 28 of his 32 in the second half. He scored all but five of UW’s second-half total of 33. Maldonado went 12-19 shooting and was 8-10 at the foul line. He added three rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

Wyoming (1-0) had no other players score more than six points. The Cowboys shot 51.4 percent from the field, despite a 1-10 night from beyond the arc. UW also trimmed their turnovers from 20 in last week’s exhibition to 12 in this game.

The other story of the game was the Pokes’ defense. UW allowed the fewest points to a Division 1 team in a season opener since they gave up 39 to Montana State in the 1949-50 season. That was a 42-39 Wyoming win.

Idaho State struggled and shot 32 percent from the floor. The Bengals went 4-24, 17 percent, from deep. They were also 6-18 at the free-throw line. Idaho State had a 32-28 edge in rebounding, but also committed 15 turnovers.

The Cowboys and Bengals traded the lead four times early. UW went on a 7-0 run and led 16-8. The Pokes held a 20-12 lead when Idaho State closed the half on a 6-1 spurt. It was 21-18 at the break.

Wyoming held the Bengals to one field goal over the first nine minutes of the second half. The Cowboys extended to a 35-21 lead. Idaho State closed within 41-35 with six minutes left, but nine points from Maldonado kept UW in control.

The Pokes head on the road to South Carolina for their next game on Sunday. Tip-off is at 10 a.m., Mountain Time.

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