Washington and Nance Lead Pokes Past #15/14 Aztecs, 58-45

Jan. 19, 2013

Laramie, Wyo. -

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Senior forward Leonard Washington and sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. both notched double-doubles to lead the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 58-45 win over No. 15/14 San Diego State on Saturday night in the Arena-Auditorium. A crowd of 9,573, UW's largest in the AA since 2005, watched the Pokes lead wire-to-wire after amassing a 20-9 lead at halftime.

"I can tell you this, the sound in this gym that I remember from 15 years ago -- and it can be intimidating -- it was back tonight," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Kudos to our fans, especially our student body -- thank heaven they're back in school. They (our fans) would not allow San Diego State to make a run. Every time they came close, we answered. I would have to say in my 40 years of coaching it has to be one of the best defensive performances I've ever been involved with. I love this bunch of guys, and I'm just happy to be a small part of this team."

The Cowboys held SDSU to just four baskets in the first half and 16 percent (4-of-24) from the field, while running up a 20-9 lead. The Aztecs couldn't find an answer for Wyoming in the second half either, as their only two threes of the game cut the lead to seven, 42-35, with four minutes left, but the Cowboys quickly stretched the lead back to double digits. Wyoming's two wins over ranked opponents this season are the most since defeating two during the 1997-98 season.

Washington posted 14 points and tied a career-high with 14 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season, while adding a career-high five steals and two blocks. He has led the Pokes in steals in four consecutive games. Nance added his second career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to go with a block and a steal. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore added 13 points and freshman guard Josh Adams had 12, as UW put four Cowboys in double figures for the sixth time this season.

"We talked at halftime that we had to find a way to get the ball to the block to Leonard [Washington] or Larry [Nance]," Shyatt said. "We knew we couldn't get it a lot to the block, because they're [SDSU] so good inside, but we needed to get it in there some. Normally, I like us to take 40 to 45 percent of our shots from three-point range, but in this particular game I was afraid three-point shots might lead to long rebounds and allow them to get out in the open court. Thank heavens we made two [threes] in the second half, including a big one by [Larry] Nance."

The Cowboys connected on 42 percent (18-of-42) from the field and 25 percent (4-of-16) from beyond the arc, but held SDSU to 28 percent (17-of-59) and 11 percent (2-of-18), respectively. SDSU earned a slight 37-36 advantage in rebounds, but the Cowboys claimed a 12-4 lead in assists and 8-5 in steals.

Wyoming dominated the first half on both sides of the ball. The Pokes started hot with a jam from Adams and trey from Derrious for a quick 7-2 lead. SDSU responded with a jumper at the 15:12 mark, but wouldn't make another basket until the 8:43 mark. UW took advantage to stretch the lead to 10 at 16-6, and lead by as many as 14, 20-6, in the first half. The Aztecs made the last basket of the first half, but went into the break down 20-9 after hitting just four shots in the opening frame.

Adams scored six points in the first half and Gilmore added five, while Nance had eight rebounds. Wyoming shot 32 percent (8-of-25) from the field and 15 percent (2-of-13) beyond the arc in the first half, but held SDSU to 16 percent (4-of-24) and no threes (0-of-8). Both teams earned 18 rebounds, while UW had a 6-0 advantage in assists.

Both offenses picked it up in the second half, but the Pokes maintained their lead throughout the frame. Washington scored 12 points in the second half and started with two quick buckets to keep UW up by at least 10 through the 10-minute mark. The Aztecs hit their first three of the game with 6:48 left and followed with another to cut the lead to seven at 42-35 with 3:57 left, but Gilmore made three of his next four free throws and Nance nailed a trey to put Wyoming back up 11, 48-37, with 2:21 to go. The Pokes would cruise from there.

Wyoming continued its excellent play in the second half this season, shooting 58 percent (10-of-17) from the field and 66 percent (2-of-3) from deep. SDSU hit 37 percent (13-of-35) and 20 percent (2-of-10) in the second half.

Wyoming returns to action at UNLV on Thursday with a 7:15 p.m. MT tip.