Cowboys Move to 11-0 with 71-61 Win Over Denver
Behind career-high scoring nights from Luke Martinez and Larry Nance, Jr., the Wyoming Cowboys stayed undefeated on the season with a 71-61 victory over the Denver Pioneers Tuesday night at the Arena-Auditorium. Martinez knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 25 points, while Nance scored 21 points, which included an 11-11 performance from the free throw line.
Martinez credited the rest of the team for his big night, "I think my teammates just found me really well. There's team's that guard me harder than Denver did tonight, and there's team's that guard me less than they did. It was just knocking down the shot and my teammates finding me."
This 11-0 start matches the 1987-88 team for the second best in Cowboy basketball history. Only the 1950-51 squad started a season 12-0.
Wyoming stretched a 6-point halftime lead to 46-36 with 13:32 left on a deep 3-pointer from Derrious Gilmore. After DU trimmed the Pokes edge to 48-43, UW responded with a 12-4 run for their biggest lead of 60-47 at the 4:33 mark. The Pioneers never went away and rallied within 6 points with 1:20 left. A three-point play by Leonard Washington and a pair of Gilmore free throws sealed the victory.
The Cowboys shot 64.7 percent (22-34) from the field, 8-12 from deep (66.7%) and finished 19-21, for 90.5 percent from the stripe. They also out-rebounded the Pioneers 21-15. Gilmore also scored in double figures with 12 points, while Washington had 8 points, 7 rebounds and a team-high 5 assists.
"We needed that bad," said Wyoming Coach Larry Shyatt of his team's hot shooting. "I was really happy. We banged in some 3's, eight of 'em, and like Coach (Billy) Donovan always says, it's so much more fun when you're banging 'em home."
Denver (3-6) was led by Chris Udofia with a season-high 26 points. Royce O'Neale added 12. The Pioneers shot 53.5 percent (23-43) on field goals, but were held to 6-13 (46.2%) from 3-point range.
Wyoming began the game on an 11-2 run behind a pair of Martinez 3's and one from Josh Adams. Martinez' hot start saw him score 13 of the Cowboys first 21 points, as UW led 21-11 with 9:54 left in the half. DU answered with an 11-3 spurt behind three 3-pointers of their own and cut the deficit to 25-22 with 3:20 remaining. A 3-point play the old-fashioned way by Nance and a jumper by Adams helped the Pokes to a 30-24 lead at the break.
Even Nance, Jr. gave the rest of the squad the praise saying, "In my case, it was really just the other guys setting me up. A lot of 'em are just dump downs from Derrious, Luke, Riley or Josh, whatever guard was in the game; even Leonard. Whether it led to a foul or a bucket, it was those guys that led me to the basket."
UW will host their final game of 2012 on Friday, Dec. 21st against UC-Santa Barbara. Wyoming beat the Gauchos 68-40 in California earlier this season. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. Coverage will begin on Y95 Country at 6:30 p.m.