Feb. 16, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Senior forward Leonard Washington posted his third-straight double-double to lead the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a thrilling 55-51 overtime victory over Fresno State on Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (18-7, 4-7 MW) closed the final eight minutes of the game on a 12-2 run, holding the Bulldogs (8-16, 2-9 MW) to one field goal during that time. In the extra period, UW outscored FSU 6-2 and went 4-of-6 at the free throw line.
"This group of guys has won 18 of 25 games this season," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "At times I've given up, but these guys never do. I've said before they have a heart of a lion. I don't know how else to describe these guys. They've had adversity hit at various times this year, including tonight with [Larry] Nance having a bad sinus infection and Derrious Gilmore running a pretty good fever today. Yet they just come out and they play with everything they've got."
After trailing by double figures the first 10 minutes of the second half, Wyoming scored eight-consecutive points over the final 3:20 of the game to force overtime with the score tied at 49. In the final session, UW got an early bucket from senior guard Derrious Gilmore and free throws from Washington and sophomore guard Riley Grabau to seal the win. On the defensive end, the Pokes held the Bulldogs to 1-of-8 in overtime.
"I tell you what, as the game unfolded I thought the way our guys fought through screens, over screens through handoffs were incredible," Shyatt said. "Nate Sobey in particular fought his tail off, and he was fighting off screen after screen. That took some pressure off Nance and Leonard, and let them patrol the paint better. Early in the game, that was not the case and they scored a little bit easier than I would have liked. But you look at holding a team to 51 points in an overtime game, once again on a frustrating shooting night on our part. We continued to guard and rebound. When you give Leonard Washington and Larry Nance a little space to work, they can come up with some pretty special plays, and toward the tail end of the game boy did they."
Washington led the way for the Cowboys with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He is the first Cowboy with three straight double-doubles since Justin Williams had three in a row from Feb. 4 to Feb. 11 during the 2005-06 season. Washington also added three blocks for his third-consecutive game with three blocks and eighth this season with three or more blocks.
Gilmore scored 12 points for his 17th game this season in double figures. Junior guard Nathan Sobey played a career-high 30 minutes while adding a career-high 10 points. It is the second-consecutive game Sobey has set a career high in points and minutes played. Nance added eight points for the Cowboys, while also tying career highs with five steals, four assists and three blocks.
The Bulldogs opened the game on fire with a 9-4 run. Wyoming answered by scoring four-consecutive points over the next two minutes to pull within one. Fresno State held off the Cowboys and advanced to its largest lead of the half at 11 with 1:41 to go in the first. A Gilmore three cut the lead to eight at the 1:21 mark but Fresno State pushed the lead back to double digits at 10 with 42 seconds left in the half. Fresno State took a 31-21 first half lead into the locker room.
Leading the Pokes in the first half was Washington with six points and seven rebounds. Sobey also added six points and Gilmore finished the half with five of his own.
Next up for the Pokes will be a trip to San Diego, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to take on the San Diego State Aztecs. Tip is set for 8 p.m. MT. in Viejas Arena.