Washington Powers Pokes Past Broncos, 64-54

Feb. 25, 2012

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Laramie, Wyo. -

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Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington notched his third career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds to power the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a dominant 64-54 Mountain West win over Boise State on Saturday in front of more than 6,200 fans in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (19-9, 5-7) led by double digits midway through the second half before a late run by the Broncos (13-14, 3-9), but free throws down the stretch gave UW its 14th home win of the season.

"I thought our defense was terrific down the stretch," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "It was the first time in a quite a while that we were able to reach all of our defensive goals -- holding our opponent under 55 points, holding them under 40 percent shooting from the field and under 30 percent from three."

Washington had several highlight-reel dunks and blocks during his second double-double in conference play, as he went 6-of-12 from the field and 1-of-2 from deep to go with three blocks and a steal. Senior guard Francisco Cruz posted a game-high 16 points, including six rebounds and four assists, while redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. Cruz and senior guard JayDee Luster both handed out four assists.

"I was proud of our effort today, just like I have been the last five games," Shyatt said. "I didn't see much difference from the way we played today than the way we've played the last five games. We did make a few more shots, but other than that I thought our effort has been good in all of those games."

The Cowboys shot 45 percent (23-of-51) from the field and 35 percent (6-of-17) from deep to 32 percent (18-of-55) and 25 percent (6-of-24) for the Broncos. BSU owned a 37-33 advantage in rebounds, but the Cowboys earned a 14-7 advantage in assists, 10-5 in turnovers and 4-0 in blocks. UW has now held 13 opponents below 30 percent beyond the arc this season.

Wyoming opened the game with a quick 5-0 lead thanks to a layup from senior center Adam Waddell and a three from Martinez, while collecting two charges on the defensive end as well. Boise State got on the scoreboard five minutes in with back-to-back threes to quickly take a one-point advantage, but Luster responded with a three and freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. hit a jumper to retake the lead at the 14-minute mark. The Broncos converted a three-point play to come within two, but Wyoming would slowly build a lead over the next seven minutes.

Washington started the streak with a jumper and Nance followed with one of his own, while Cruz notched UW's next five points. Martinez hit a jumper, Luster hit two free throws and Washington capped the run with an emphatic break-away dunk to push the Cowboys in front 27-15 with 5:37 to go. BSU clawed back within three, but Martinez halted the spurt with a three and senior guard Arthur Bouedo converted a layup with 26 second left to send UW to halftime up 32-26.

Martinez scored eight points in the first half to six and three rebounds for Nance, while Luster and Cruz both added five points. Wyoming shot 44 percent (13-of-29) from the field in the first half to 36 percent (8-of-22) for Boise State, while both teams went 4-of-11 from deep. BSU outrebounded UW 18-13, but the Cowboys had an 8-3 advantage in assists and committed just one turnover to seven for the Broncos.

Boise State scored the first four points of the second half to come within two early, but a Washington layup and Cruz three quickly extended the lead back in UW's favor. The squads exchanged buckets over the next six minutes, until the Broncos once again clawed within five at 45-40 with 11:54 to go. Wyoming responded with an 11-4 spurt over the next eight minutes to push its advantage to 56-44 at the 4:23 mark. Washington scored seven points during the run, including an impressive follow-up dunk to cap the run, while the Cowboy defense held BSU to two baskets during the spurt.

The Broncos would fight back to within six at 58-52 with two minutes to go, but free throws from Luster and Cruz, as well as a block from Washington on the defensive end, maintained UW's lead down the stretch. Washington and Cruz both scored 11 points in the second half, and Washington added eight rebounds.

Wyoming plays its final home game of the season by hosting TCU at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Arena-Auditorium.