Jan. 21, 2012
Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington scored 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to power the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a dominant 70-51 win over Colorado State in front of a season-high 7,901 fans in the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday. The Cowboys (16-3, 2-1) led wire-to-wire in another dominant defensive effort to hold the Rams (13-5, 2-1), who entered leading the Mountain West in three-point percentage, to 29 percent beyond the arc.
Wyoming built a 13-point halftime lead and extended it to as many as 17 in the second half, but Colorado State fought back twice to cut the lead to nine. Washington, who scored 19 in the second half, and the Cowboys had an answer each time, though, as UW fed off its biggest crowd since 2005.
"I really liked our edge the whole game," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Whether it's been after a couple good wins or after a couple tough losses, our team has kept their focus all year and stayed the course. This team knows who it is and who it isn't."
Washington's second double-double in a brown and gold uniform was an impressive effort on both ends. His 32 points came on 12-of-16 from the field, 3-of-4 from deep and 5-of-6 from the line. He grabbed 14 rebounds, including five offensive boards, while collecting two steals and a block.
"Leonard [Washington] was fantastic, and his second and third effort impressed me more than his first effort," Shyatt said. "There were several times when they met him at the glass, but he was able to get offensive rebounds and convert."
Fellow redshirt junior Luke Martinez notched 12 points to reach double figures for the sixth-straight game and added four rebounds and three steals, while senior guard JayDee Luster posted nine points and five assists. Luster's best performance came on the defensive end, as he held CSU's Wes Eikmeier to two points and one assists. Eikmeier entered the game leading the MW in scoring at 16.7 per game.
The Pokes played great defense as a whole too. CSU was shooting a MW-best 49.7 percent from deep, but was held to 29.4 percent (5-of-17) on Saturday to snap an eight-game winning streak. The Rams' 51 points were a season low.
"I thought we did a good job of making them [Colorado State] take tough twos, and limiting their threes," Shyatt said. "That's what we wanted to do, and for the most part I thought we executed that."
The Pokes started hot and jumped out to a 10-4 lead through the first three minutes. Threes from Luster and Washington were followed by a dunk from senior center Adam Waddell, as UW started 4-of-6 from the floor. CSU kept pace and drew within six at 16-10 midway through the half, but the Cowboy defense held the Rams without a bucket over the next four minutes and built a 14-point advantage at 24-10. CSU started 0-of-4 from deep and didn't hit a three until 6:20 left in the first half.
Colorado State battled the lead under 10 twice down the stretch, but Leonard scored four-straight points and Martinez scored the last four of the half, including a layup with four seconds left, to send Wyoming to halftime up 32-19. Washington had 13 points and five rebounds in the first half, while Martinez added 10 and four. UW shot 39 percent (11-of-28) in the opening frame and 33 percent (3-of-9) from deep to 40 percent (8-of-20) and 20 percent (1-of-5) for CSU. The Cowboys outrebounded the Rams 20-10, including nine offensive rebounds, and held an 8-3 advantage in assists.
A Washington follow-up jam to start the second half got the crowd rocking right away and UW kept the momentum to quickly extend the lead to 17 at 39-22 on a Paco Cruz trey. The lead hung around 13 through the first nine minutes, until CSU cut the advantage to nine at 47-38. Washington got a layup off an offensive rebound and Luster calmly hit two free throws, though, to put UW right back in control.
It would stay that way until CSU once again pulled within nine at 58-49 with 5:29 left. Four-straight free throws from Waddell and a trey from Washington were UW's answer and it would prove to be all the Cowboys needed for the win. Washington scored 19 points and earned nine rebounds in the second half, while Luster added six points.
Wyoming returns to action when the Cowboys host No. 16 San Diego State at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Arena-Auditorium.
"I can't thank the crowd [tonight] enough," Shyatt said. "I want to reach out to our students and our fans who maybe haven't been to a game in a while or who haven't experienced what the Double A atmosphere can be like with a big crowd. We have a very good San Diego State team coming to town on Tuesday night, and I hope our fans will come out and make this atmosphere as undisciplined and exciting as possible on Tuesday -- just like they did today."