Denver Escapes With 63-62 Win Over Cowboys

Jan 7, 2004

DENVER (AP) - Zeljko Zupic scored a three-pointer and Rodney Billups andErik Benzel made five free throws in the waning seconds as Denver rallied toupset Wyoming 63-62 Tuesday night.

Zupic finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in the 137th meeting betweenthe Mountain West Conference teams.

Billups finished with 13 points and six assists, Brett Starkey scored 10with a game-high 14 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, andCarvell McAlister scored 12 for Denver (8-4).

Wyoming (7-5) was led by guard Jay Straight's 17 points, plus 16 points andnine rebounds by Mory Correa.

Denver led 55-53 with 2:27 remaining after McAlister sank a foul shot. With1:43 left, Correa missed two foul shots and Denver answered with athree-pointer by Zupic with one second left on the 35-second shot clock.

Straight cut the lead to 58-55 with two free throws with 52 secondsremaining. Then, with 38 seconds to go, Wyoming intentionally fouled Billupsand he sank both.

Following a tremendous dunk by Correa off Straight's feed, Billups sank oneof two foul shots and Straight responded with a quick driving lay-up against aweak defense to draw within 61-59 with 21.3 seconds left.

Benzel's free throws pushed Denver's lead to 63-59, and Wyoming missed athree-pointer at the buzzer that left the Cowboys one point short.

Wyoming led 32-26 at halftime as both teams were forced to sit foul-pronepost players. Denver backup center Yemi Nicholson eventually fouled out with4:15 remaining after nine minutes of floor time.