LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Graham Ike scored 23 points, the final two coming with three seconds left, as Wyoming beat Utah State 71-69 in a Mountain West men’s basketball game Saturday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

The Aggies still had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but a wide-open look from 3-point range by Rylan Jones was off the mark.

“Credit to our guys for finding a way to take the lead there and get back in it,” said USU head coach Ryan Odom. “Really, I don’t think we were ever out of it because there weren’t ever any huge leads in that game. It was just kind of a back and forth. Last play there, you think it’s probably going to go to Maldonado, but in retrospect, we were trapping him a little bit at the end, so they were probably thinking ‘Hey, let’s just throw it to him and we’ll see what happens, let him bully his way to the basket.’ That’s what happened.”

Utah State (10-7, 1-3 MW) trailed 63-56 with 4:50 to go, but used an 11-2 run to move in front 67-65 with 1:33 remaining. Jones, who finished with 19 points and two assists, capped the spurt by converting an old-fashioned three-point play.

The Cowboys (12-2, 1-0 MW) answered back with a mini 4-0 run of their own to regain the lead, but Utah State forward Justin Bean knocked down a jumper to tie it at 69-all with 26 seconds left, setting up the thrilling final moments.

Bean also scored 19 points for the Aggies, to go along with 13 rebounds and two steals. It marked his 11th double-double of the season.

“This is obviously a tough one for us coming back to the Spectrum,” Bean said. “We were awaiting a

Two other players scored in double figures for Utah State as Sean Bairstow had 15 points, while Max Shulga chipped in 10 off the bench.

Hunter Maldonado joined Ike in double-figure scoring for Wyoming with 21 points. Drake Jeffries and Jeremiah Oden added 14 and 11 points apiece, respectively, for the Cowboys, who had not played a game since Dec. 25 due to health and safety protocols.

Conversely, the Aggies had not played a home game since Dec. 21, a span of more than three weeks. Saturday’s game against Wyoming marked the latest league home opener for Utah State since the 1996-97 campaign, when it hosted North Texas to open Big West play on Jan. 16.

“This is obviously a tough one for us coming back to the Spectrum,” said Bean. “We were awaiting a packed arena and that’s what we got. So first, I’d just like to thank all the fans and students coming back from the break they were in full force. I thought they definitely contributed to the atmosphere and how electric it was at times. That was great to be back in that environment. Defensively, I thought we did a good enough job to get the job done. They scored 71 points. They killed us in the paint, but I think more than anything shots weren’t falling.” 

“Tough loss,” Jones said. “They’re a good team. Not much to say. We’ve lost on the last possession three games in conference. We just have to find a way to finish and come out on top. It was another game where we had some runs, where we were good in our offense, obviously shooting the ball in the first half wasn’t great but credit to their defense, they kind of play a funky defense. The guys that they want to shoot they kind of just back way off and we just missed some of those shots, but just a tough loss honestly.”

The game featured 11 ties and six lead changes. Wyoming led by as many as 10 in the first half, while Utah State never led by more than two on the night.

Despite trailing 18-8 with 10:17 to go in the first half, the Aggies battled back tie the game at 31-all at the break.

Utah State shot 40.6 percent from the field (26-of-64), including just 23.1 percent from 3-point range (6-of-26), and 73.3 percent from the free throw line (11-of-15).

Wyoming shot 52.2 percent (24-of-46) overall, but knocked down 37.5 percent of its shots from beyond the arc (6-of-16). The Cowboys made 81.0 percent of their free throws (17-of-21).

Utah State, which was without the services of RJ Eytle-Rock and Brock Miller, has lost its last two games by a combined seven points and three conference games by a combined nine points.

The Aggies will look to snap their two-game losing streak on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 9 p.m. (MT), when they hit the road to take on Fresno State at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.