The short-handed Wyoming Cowboys had a short stay in Las Vegas. They lost 88-70 to Utah State Wednesday in the opening round of the Mountain West Tournament.

A slow start combined with hot shooting by the Aggies was too much to overcome.

The Cowboys battled back from a 25-point first half deficit. An Alan Herndon free throw with 9:46 pulled Wyoming within seven, at 63-56. That’s as close as they would get.

Utah State responded with a Jalen Moore lay-up and a three-pointer from Shane Rector. The lead grew to 68-56. UW was only able to get within nine on two occasions after that.

Wyoming struggled shooting the ball. The Pokes knocked down only 37 percent of their shots from the floor. That included 5-of-28 for a season-low 18 percent from beyond the arc. The Cowboys were 27-of-34, 79 percent, at the free throw line.

Jason McManamen led UW with 23 points, but he was 2-for-10 from deep. Josh Adams scored 18, but was only 2-of-9 from three. Herndon added his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Utah State (16-14) had four players in double figures. They were led by Rector’s 24 points. The Aggies shot 48 percent from the field. They went 11-25 from deep for 44 percent. Utah State also held a 40-28 advantage in rebounding.

The Aggies led from the start. They jumped out to an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. The lead reached double figures in the first seven minutes. Utah State shot close to 58 percent in the first half and knocked down 7-of-12 from 3-point range. They led 47-30 at the break.

Wyoming concludes their season at 14-18.