Denver Escapes With 63-62 Win Over Cowboys

Jan 7, 2004

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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 Front Range 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 hit ameaningless three-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.