Wyoming Outlasts Air Force In OT, 67-63

Feb. 5, 2005

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Jay Straight scored seven of his 18 points in overtimein leading Wyoming past Air Force 67-63 Saturday.

Wyoming (12-8, 4-3 Mountain West Conference) has won four of its last fivegames, while the Falcons (14-8, 5-2) saw their two game win streak end.

The Cowboys forced overtime when Steve Leven sank a 3-point shot afterStraight found him open with 10 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at51-51.

With Wyoming leading 56-55 at the 2:39 mark of overtime, the Cowboys' DionSherrell committed his fifth foul, but Dan Nwaelele of Air Force was hit with atechnical when he inexplicably slammed the ball to the floor.

Nwaelele, who later said he thought he was called for the foul, hit two freethrows, followed by Straight who sank the two technical foul shots for a 58-57Cowboy lead.

Wyoming outscored the Falcon 9-6 the rest of the way, with Straightrecording five of the Cowboys' points.

Sherrell contributed 11 points, while Justin Williams and Leven added 10apiece. Wyoming outrebounded Air Force 39-22, including 25-15 on offensiveboards, and outshot the Falcons 50 percent to 41 percent.

Air Force, which trailed 32-25 at the half, got 13 points apiece from JacobBurtschi and Nwaelele. Antoine Hood had 12, and Nick Welch 10.

The Falcons hit 11-of-31 3-point attempts, including 4-of-14 in the firsthalf. Wyoming made 5-of-12 3-pointers for the game.

The game was Steve McClain's 200th as head coach of Wyoming. He has a 123-77record.

Wyoming Postgame Notes

•Tonight's overtime game marked the fourth time in the last 12 meetings between Wyoming and Air Force that the two teams have played overtime. Those 12 games are also the number of times the two teams have played since moving to the Mountain West Conference. Two of those four overtimes have come in the Arena-Auditorium. Here are the four recent overtimes.

Feb. 5, 2005 Wyoming won 67-63 in one overtime in Laramie, Wyo.

March 7, 2002 Wyoming won 69-67 in one overtime in Las Vegas, Nev. (First Round of MWC Tourney)

Jan. 28, 2002 Wyoming won 83-76 in four overtimes in Laramie, Wyo.

Feb. 5, 2000 Wyoming lost 79-82 in overtime in Colorado Springs, Colo.

•Not only have there been four overtime games, but six of the last 12 meetings have been decided by five points or less. The Cowboys lead the MWC series 9-3.

•Wyoming has played three overtime games this season. UW is 3-0 in overtime games this season. The Pokes also defeated Princeton, 64-59 in double overtime, and won at San Diego State, 88-81 in a single overtime.

•Wyoming has shot 50 percent or better in five of its last six wins. The Cowboys shot exactly 50.0 percent (24 of 48) against Air Force.

•The Cowboys have now out-rebounded 11 of its last 13 opponents. UW out-boarded Air Force by 17 (39 to 22). The Pokes entered today's game leading the MWC in rebound average (38.7 rebounds per game), and ranked second in the MWC in rebounding marging (+5.0). Only Utah (+11.1 rebound margin) was ranked ahead of Wyoming in the MWC.

•Wyoming now leads the overall series against Air Force 65-21. UW head coach Steve McClain is 11-3 against the Falcons.

•Today's game marked the 200th game that Steve McClain has coached at Wyoming. McClain has posted a record of 123-77 (.615) in his seven seasons at Wyoming. He is one of only four coaches to coach 200 games at UW in the 100 years of Cowboy Basketball.

Postgame Quotes From Wyoming Head Coach Steve McClain

"We've had great games between the two of us. There is just something about this series.

"It was a game where players on both teams were making plays. They had some good streaks, and we had some good streaks.

"What I was most proud of was when we got down 47-42 in the second half, we didn't give up. A lot of teams would have given up against Air Force at that point, but our kids knew there was a lot of basketball yet to play.

"Alex (Dunn) did a great job on the boards, and a great job defensively on (Nick) Welch.

"We're starting to understand what it takes to be a good basketball team. Our new guys and our veterans are playing unselfishly. Whenever we have four to five different individuals in double figures, we win. Whenever we dominate the boards, we win.

"Defensively, we hung in there and guarded. There is nothing fancy about it, you just have to make up your mind to dig in and defend for longer periods of time than you are used to.

"I've always told our players you get what you deserve. Our team plays hard and finds ways to win -- they deserve to be where they are."

Regarding Steve Leven hitting the three at the end of regulation to tie the game

"The shot came off a great screen by Justin (Williams), and Steve (Leven) stepped up and hit the shot. As one of my assistant coaches said, Steve has been working hard in practice and taking extra shots after practice. It was just a matter of time before he knocked down a big shot."

Regarding the shot-clock difficulties

"It was unfortunate. The officials did a good job of handling it. I've heard that there may have been a short in the system. I know our people will get it checked out, and get it corrected.