Jan. 24, 2012
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team trailed No. 12/13 San Diego State by just three at halftime, but the Aztecs opened the second half with a 16-4 run en route to a 52-42 Mountain West win over the Cowboys on Tuesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. UW (16-4, 2-2) held SDSU (18-2, 4-0) to a season low in points, but the Aztecs shot 57 percent from the field in the second half to 25 percent for the Cowboys for the win.
"[San Diego State] shot 51 percent from the field and 45 percent from three for the game," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "If they were just a fair team, it would have been hard for us to win the game against an opponent shooting like that, but they're much more than a fair team."
Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington led the way for Wyoming with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez added 11 points and two steals. The duo has scored in double figures for six consecutive games. Freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. came off the bench for six points and eight rebounds, while senior guard JayDee Luster added four assists for the 13th game this season he's had at least four dimes.
Wyoming shot a season-low 30 percent (15-of-49) from the field and just 22 percent (5-of-22) from deep and 58 percent (7-of-12) at the free throw line. San Diego State connected on 51 percent (21-of-41) from the field and 45 percent (5-of-11) beyond the arc and owned a 30-27 rebounding advantage. The Cowboys committed less fouls (13-15) and less turnovers (15-19), but their 20 points in the second half were the lowest this season.
"We were disconnected offensively all night," Shyatt said. "I felt it was really the first time that we've been counterproductive like that. We hurried tonight and didn't play to our strengths. We've been good all year at moving on after wins and after losses, and we need to do that after this loss."
The Pokes started the game hot once again, as Martinez nailed a trey to open the scoring. SDSU clawed back and hit a three of its own to go up 8-4 four minutes in, but Washington hit back-to-back treys and Luster followed with a layup to put Wyoming up 12-8 with 12:19 to go. Washington notched the next three UW points to keep the Cowboys in front through the eight-minute mark, but foul trouble forced him and senior center Adam Waddell to the bench.
The Cowboy offense struggled over the next five minutes, and San Diego State responded with a 10-0 run to build its biggest lead of the half at 25-18. A monstrous dunk by Nance with 1:45 left ignited the Double A crowd and a Cruz jumper sent Wyoming to halftime down 25-22. Washington had 10 points and five rebounds in the first half, while Luster had four assists. SDSU shot 45 percent (9-of-20) to 36 percent (8-of-22) for Wyoming and earned a 14-13 rebounding advantage.
The momentum that Wyoming ended the first half with didn't carry over the second half, though. The Aztecs opened with a 16-4 run to go up by 15 at 41-26 eight minutes into the half. SDSU hit six of its first nine field goals, while UW hit on just one of nine to facilitate the run. Waddell broke the spurt with free throws and Martinez hit a three and a jumper to cut the lead to eight at 41-33 with 11:28 left, but San Diego State slowly pushed the advantage back to 15 at 50-35 over the next five minutes.
The two squads exchanged two more baskets, but would combine for only three more over the final 6:30 as SDSU slowed the game down. SDSU shot 57 percent (12-of-21) from the field in the second half, while limiting Wyoming to 25 percent (7-of-27).
Wyoming continues Mountain West play at Boise State on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.