Wyoming Drops 54-46 Border War Game to Colorado State

Feb. 18, 2012

Fort Collins, Colo.

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Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez scored a game-high 15 points and senior guard Francisco Cruz added 10, but the University of Wyoming men's basketball team lost a 54-46 Border War contest to Colorado State on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,745 in Moby Arena. The Cowboys (18-8, 4-6) once again led well into the second half, before the Rams (16-9, 5-5) used a 18-6 run over the final eight minutes of the game for the come-from-behind victory.

"I thought we played with the heart of a champion tonight," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We couldn't get enough shots to fall in the last few minutes to salvage a win, but I told our guys afterward that they played with the heart of a champion."

Wyoming took a 28-21 lead into the break and used three-straight threes early in the second half to stay in front, but Colorado State used an 11-2 run to go in front. The Cowboys cut it three at 47-44 with 1:18 to play, but the Rams converted a three-point play on their next possession and made free throws down the stretch for the win.

"This was a great college basketball game from start to finish," Shyatt said. "It was a great atmosphere. I thought our guys played one of our better second halves. We gutted it out, and we answered with some big shots time after time, we just couldn't hit enough shots down the stretch."

Martinez reached double figures for the first time in three games and also collected four rebounds, while Cruz added two rebounds, two assists and a steal. Senior center Adam Waddell was UW's leading rebounder at five and senior guard JayDee Luster earned four assists. The Cowboys shot 38 percent (17-of-44) for the game, but just 23 percent (5-of-21) in the second half, and 35 percent (7-of-20) from beyond the arc. CSU hit 51 percent (19-of-37) and 33 percent (2-of-6), while outrebounding UW 29-19.

The Cowboys held the advantage throughout the first half, thanks in part to six different Pokes scoring in the opening frame. Wyoming slowly built the lead through the first 10 minutes behind treys from Martinez and Leonard Washington, as the Pokes started 7-of-12 from the field. A Larry Nance Jr. layup pushed the lead to UW's biggest of the half at eight, 15-7, midway through and the squads exchanged buckets over the next seven minutes. The Rams fought back to within two at 23-21 with 2:29 to go, but Martinez nailed a three and Luster hit a jumper with one second left to send UW into halftime up 28-21.

Martinez and Cruz both had six points in the first half, while Washington added five points and two blocks. Wyoming outrebounded Colorado State 11-10 and committed just five turnovers to seven for the Rams. The Pokes shot 52 percent (12-of-23) from the field and 42 percent (3-of-7) beyond the arc, while CSU connected on 47 percent (8-of-17) and just one three (1-of-3). Colorado's State 21 points at halftime were its second-lowest offensive performance of the season, trailing only its 19 points against Wyoming on Jan. 21.

Both teams started the second half hot from the floor. The Cowboys made three-straight treys, including two by Martinez, to stay in front by as many as eight, 34-26, but the Rams kept pace with shots of their own. CSU cut it to one at 37-36, but Martinez connected on another three to keep UW in front, 40-36, with 8:26 to go. The Rams crafted a quick 7-0 spurt to take their first lead of the game, 43-40, but Washington hit two free throws with 3:11 left to cut the deficit to one, 43-42. CSU hit two more jumpers to creep out in front, before Cruz hit two free throws to draw the Cowboys within three at 47-44 with 1:18 to go. The Rams converted an old fashion three-point play on their ensuing possession for a six-point advantage with 49 seconds left and hit free throws down the stretch to hold on.

Wyoming continues its season at San Diego State on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.