Laramie, Wyo. (Dec. 21, 2012) – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team matched its best start in team history by winning its 12th-consecutive game with a 56-40 victory over the UC Santa Barbara on Friday in the Double AA.

Senior forward Leonard Washington led all scorers with 17 points while pulling down 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Fellow senior Luke Martinez chipped in 14 points and four steals for the Pokes.

The Cowboys rode a 32-17 second half to down the Gauchos, tying a season-low 40 points allowed, which also came against UCSB on Nov. 28.

Wyoming moved its winning streak to 12 games marking the sixth time in school history a Cowboy team has matched that feat. At 12-0 the Cowboys are one of eight teams left in the country undefeated.

“I thought our guys showed great effort tonight, particularly in the second half,” Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said.

“We were after every loose ball, or what we call 50-50 balls. When you play with effort like that it sends the right message to everyone on the team.

We held them to one for 13 from three, and the ‘Boss’, Leonard (Washington), went to work and took us from a one-point deficit to a seven-point lead.  Then we were able to knock down some threes and got a comfortable lead.”

Washington led all scorers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. It was Washington’s 10th game this season in double figures and his 32nd of the season. Martinez’s 14 points is also his 10th game this season in double figures and the 32nd of his career.

Martinez finished 2-of-7 from the three point line to move his career three pointers to 116, two short of tying Maurice Alexander for ninth on UW’s all-time top 10. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. and senior guard Derrious Gilmore each added seven points and combined for seven assists.

Nance led the Pokes and the game with a career-high four assists. As a team the Cowboys, assisted on 12 of their 19 baskets in the game and turned the ball over just eight times.

The Cowboys, led 24-23 at halftime, but gave up the first basket of the second half to trail for the first time, 25-24. At the 17:49 mark of the second half, Washington took the game over scoring eight-consecutive points over the next 3:10 to give UW a 32-25 lead, which it never relinquished.

The Cowboys will be off for the holidays before returning to action on Jan. 2, 2013 in Dallas, Texas, with a matchup against SMU.

“These guys deserve (a break),” Shyatt said. “They now get four and a half days to enjoy time with the people who are important to them. I can’t wait to get back on the 27th (of December) and go back to work and hopefully keep this thing going.”