LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. posted 18 points and 10 rebounds to guide the University of Wyoming men's basketball team past Boise State, 65-54, on Saturday afternoon in front of 7,024 fans in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (15-2, 4-0 MW) outscored the Broncos (10-6, 0-3 MW) by 12 in the second half for their 13th-straight victory in the building, the program's longest streak since 2000-01. UW's 4-0 start in the Mountain West is its best since 2002-03 and just one win shy of its best ever.
"It was a big win, and every game in conference play for every team in the country is tough," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Nothing comes easy. You have to earn every victory."
The Cowboys trailed 31-30 at halftime, but came out of the chutes with a 5-0 run to pull in front. BSU responded with a three, but junior guard Josh Adams sank back-to-back treys of his own and added a dunk to swing momentum squarely to UW's corner. The Pokes maintained that advantage the majority of the second half, before two free throws from Nance gave UW its first double-digit lead of the game at 57-47 with 2:39 left. The Broncos would cut the lead to single digits briefly, but eight-straight free throws from senior guard Riley Grabau brought home the win.
"I thought our guys did a tremendous job in the second half," Shyatt said. "I was disappointed in the first half because they [Boise State] did score, and when they hit some of those threes, it was partly due to a lack of focus by our guys on the scouting report. They were good plays by the veterans from Boise, but I was disappointed in our defensive execution. On the other hand in the second half, I was really pleased. I thought we made [Derrick] Marks shoot the shots that we wanted him to shoot -- inside the arc. Now he made them, but I thought that was our best formula to win."
Nance's third double-double of the season came on 8-of-11 from the field and 2-of-2 at the charity stripe, while he tied season highs with four assists and four blocks. Adams finished with 16 points, his seventh-straight game in double figures, and tied a career high with four threes. Grabau had 15 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 at the free throw line and has made 28-consecutive freebies.
Wyoming shot 54 percent (22-of-41) from the field for its 12th game this season at more than 50 percent, added 37 percent (7-of-19) beyond the arc and connected on 14 of its 16 free-throw attempts for a season-high 88 percent. Boise State shot 40 percent (19-of-48) from the field and made a season-high 10 treys for a UW opponent, but was outrebounded 30-19 and surrendered a 28-8 advantage in points the paint. The Pokes committed just 10 fouls to 15 for the Broncos and assisted on 19 of their 22 baskets. BSU's 19 rebounds were the fewest by a UW opponent since December, 2012.
The first half featured five lead changes and four ties, as neither squad led by more than six points. Boise State went up by five early thanks to three-straight treys, but Wyoming retook the lead midway through the half. A 12-3 spurt by the Broncos gave them back the lead late in the half and a 31-30 lead at halftime. Nance had eight points and five rebounds at halftime, while Adams contributed five of his points in the first half.
The Cowboys host San Diego State on Wednesday at 9 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.