Feb. 6, 2013
Bakersfield, Calif. -
Sophomore forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Derek Cooke Jr. both notched double-doubles to pace the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 61-53 win at CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday night in Rabobank Arena. The Pokes (16-6, 2-6 MW) led wire-to-wire to break their four-game losing streak, but the Roadrunners (8-15) cut the lead to four late in the contest to make it interesting.
"Our guys stood the test defensively for 40 minutes tonight," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We know there are going to be times when we will be challenge offensively, but we didn't let that affect our play on the other end tonight. Sometimes you can overlook people, especially a team that you beat earlier in the season. We knew it was going to be a different act on their floor tonight."
After trailing by 16 early in the second half, CSUB pulled within four points of the Cowboys three times in the final three minutes, but the Pokes made their free throws and made stops on the defensive end down the stretch to seal the game. Wyoming's 14-0 record in non-conference this season is the first time the Pokes have went undefeated in non-conference play during the regular season since 1987-88.
Nance recorded his third double-double of the season with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, while Cooke notched his first career double-double by tying a career-high with 12 points and pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds. Nance was 7-of-11 at the free throw line, while Cooke added two assists, two steals and a block. Freshman guard Jason McManamen scored a career-high 10 points for his first game in double figures. UW got good play from its bench with 22 points and 61 minutes.
"We needed a bonus from our bench tonight," Shyatt said. "[Jason] McManamen and [Derek] Cooke were absolutely fabulous at both ends of the floor for us."
Wyoming shot 42 percent (20-of-48) from the field and 27 percent (6-of-22) beyond the arc, but held CSUB to 38 percent (20-of-53) and just one three (1-of-10). The Cowboys earned a 37-33 advantage on the boards and 15-7 in assists.
The Pokes extended their lead to as many as 16 points early in the second half and looked to be well in control. Nance earned his double-double on the first play of the half with a put-back jam and Cooke added a highlight dunk as well, but the Roadrunners made a late run. CSUB cut the deficit to four points three times in the final three minutes, but the Pokes responded with made free throws each time and ended the game on a 7-2 run to seal the win. Cooke and Nance both posted eight points and six rebounds in the half.
Wyoming dominated the first half, as the Pokes built a 14-point advantage, 27-13, at halftime. Nance had nine points and nine rebounds in the opening frame, but it was the defense that impressed. The Pokes held the Roadrunners to just three baskets (3-of-22) for 13 percent in the first half and no three pointers (0-of-7). The Pokes shot 41 percent (9-of-22) from the field, before back-to-back treys from McManamen and senior guard Derrious Gilmore gave UW its first double-digit advantage with just over four minutes left in the half. The Pokes hit 4 of their 11 three-point attempts and outrebounded CSUB 22-15 in the first half, but committed nine turnovers to just seven for the Roadrunners.
Wyoming opens the second half of Mountain West play at Boise State on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT.