Cowboys Clinch 20th Win with 71-59 Victory Over TCU

Feb. 28, 2012

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Laramie, Wyo.

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Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington notched his second straight double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds and the University of Wyoming men's basketball team played one of its best all-around games of the season for a 71-59 Mountain West win over TCU on Tuesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (20-9, 6-7) led by double digits the majority of Senior Night to clinch their first 20-win season since 2002-03 and picked up important ground on the Horned Frogs (17-12, 7-6) in the conference race.

"They were focused on the right things tonight," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "They weren't focused on individual goals. They were focused on the 20th win, and they were focused on TCU. I've been around a lot of teams. I don't know if I've seen a better performance on a night that could have been emotional."

The Pokes crafted a halftime lead for the sixth-straight game and led by double digits, before TCU used a quick 7-0 spurt to claw back within five at 47-42 five minutes into the second half. Washington and senior center Adam Waddell combined for UW's next six points, including two thunderous dunks, to quickly push the Cowboys in front by double digits again and the Cowboys kept the advantage down the stretch. Washington scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half.

Washington went 9-of-13 from the field to go with two blocks and a steal, while Waddell added 14 points and four rebounds and senior guard Francisco Cruz had 19 points and five assists. Senior guard JayDee Luster handed out a season-high eight assists to help the Cowboys earn an 18-1 assist-turnover ratio. UW also outrebounded the Horned Frogs 31-30, while shooting 53 percent (28-of-52) from the field and 30 percent (3-of-10) beyond the arc. Wyoming had a 44-28 advantage in the paint.

The Pokes started the first 10 minutes of the game hot, as Cruz opened the scoring for UW with a trey. He went on to add three more quick layups and Waddell had two dunks for an early 12-6 advantage in the paint for the Pokes. Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez hit a three, his 25th consecutive game with at least one, to push the advantage to double digits at 18-6 at the 12:54 mark and the squads exchanged baskets over the next three minutes.

Wyoming continued to shoot well through the first 10 minutes, opening the game 11-of-15 from the field, before Washington gave UW its largest lead of the first half, 29-15, with a three at the 9:42 mark. The Horned Frogs would battle the lead back under 10 several times down the stretch, but Waddell and Cruz combined for UW's last nine points to send the Pokes to halftime up 39-29.

Cruz scored 15 points in the first half and added four assists, while Washington added six points and eight rebounds. Luster also handed out four assists in the first half, as Wyoming shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from the field and 42 percent (3-of-7) from deep. TCU connected on 40 percent (12-of-30) and 20 percent (2-of-10), but was outrebounded by the Cowboys 18-16.

It was all Washington for the Cowboys in the second half, as he scored 17 of his 23 points in the frame. He opened the half with seven of UW's first eight points to keep the Pokes in front by double digits through the first four minutes. TCU responded with a quick 7-0 spurt to draw within five at 47-42 with 15:46 to go, but that would be as close the Horned Frogs would get.

Waddell and Washington combined for UW's next six points, including two thunderous dunks, to push the advantage back to double digits and the Cowboys extended the lead to as many as 14 down the stretch.

Wyoming ends the regular season at UNLV on Saturday at 8 p.m.