LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2013) – Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr.’s 19 points paced four Cowboys in double figures to help the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team earn an 85-81 first-round victory over Nevada at the Mountain West Championships on Tuesday in the Thomas & Mack Center. After trailing by four at halftime, the Pokes (19-12) opened the second half with a 19-4 run to build a double-digit lead and held off the Wolf Pack (12-19) down the stretch.
“It was a game of runs,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “I thought our run during the second half, when we came out and showed a level of toughness and a level of rebounding, maybe separated us. But the shots that they were putting in at the end were terrific.”
The Pokes’ 19-4 came courtesy of a 9-of-11 start to the second half, while holding Nevada to zero of its first six. Senior forward Leonard Washington and Nance combined for 14 during the run and senior guard Derrious Gilmore added a three, as UW ran the lead to as much as 12 at 54-42 seven minutes into the half. Nevada slowly fought back and cut the deficit to single digits with eight minutes left, including to one at 73-72 with just over two minutes to go.
Sophomore forward Derek Cooke Jr. made one free throw to push UW in front by two and Washington made a steal on the ensuing Nevada possession that he layup up while being fouled. Washington converted the free throw as well to put UW up five, 77-72, with just over a minute to go. The Pokes kept the lead the rest of the way, as Gilmore added a free throw with four seconds left to ice the game.