FRESNO, Calif. -
It was billed as a battle for first place in the Mountain West, but Saturday's showdown between the University of Wyoming men's basketball team and Fresno State was that and more. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. nailed a three with 14 seconds left in the third overtime to give the 25th-ranked Cowboys a dramatic 70-65 win over the Bulldogs in the Save Mart Center.
Neither team led by more than two possessions, as the Pokes (16-3, 5-1 MW) and Bulldogs (9-10, 4-2 MW) battled through 15 lead changes and 11 ties. The Cowboys had several chances to clinch the game at the end of regulation and both overtimes, before entering the third extra period tied at 61-61. The two squads traded buckets through the first four minutes, but a jumper from senior forward Larry Nance Jr. gave UW a two-point lead with 1:05 left. The Bulldogs would miss a three on their next possession, only to be sunk by Hankerson's trey with 14 seconds left to give Wyoming its fourth-straight road win and first victory ever at Fresno.
"That was a hard-fought game for both teams," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Every time we got together, after a miss or a make, I reminded them to put pressure on your defense. Put pressure on your defensive rebounds. I'm thrilled we finished on the high end of it."
Nance finished with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season and third in the last five games, while fellow senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. added a double-double of his own with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Junior guard Josh Adams notched 16 points, his ninth-straight game in double figures and added five assists. Nance and senior guard Riley Grabau played 54 minutes each, while Adams put in 48 minutes.
Wyoming shot 45 percent (25-of-56) from the field for a season high in field-goal attempts, but just 23 percent (5-of-22) beyond the arc and 58 percent (15-of-26) at the free throw line. The Cowboys played zone extensively to hold Fresno State to 36 percent (25-of-70) from the field, 21 percent (7-of-34) from three and 57 percent (8-of-14) at the charity stripe. FSU's 70 field-goal attempts and 34 three-point attempts were season highs for a UW opponent.
The Pokes were outrebounded 44-42, but held a 34-18 advantage in points in the paint. The Bulldogs committed 12 turnovers to 17 for the Cowboys. Wyoming played in its first triple-overtime game since an 83-76 home win over Air Force in quadruple overtime on Jan. 28, 2002.
Wyoming is off until hosting New Mexico on Jan. 24 in the Arena-Auditorium at 2 p.m. MT.