LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. notched 21 points and 10 rebounds to guide the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a dominant 76-53 Senior Night win over Utah State on Wednesday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (22-8, 11-6 MW) captured a single-season record 17th victory in the building, while head coach Larry Shyatt became the fastest Cowboy coach to reach 100 wins at UW.
"Tremendous," Shyatt said. "What can I tell you? Tremendous from start to finish. This team worked hard and focused for this game and played their tails off. I am very happy for the whole team especially happy for the seniors and even happier because the people they love the most were able to be here on this special night for them."
It was a game the five Cowboy seniors who have dramatically turned the program around seemed determined to win. The Pokes led by double digits seven minutes into the game, by 10 at halftime and as many as 25 late in the second half. Wyoming never trailed en route to its largest margin of victory in a Mountain West contest since a 23-point win over Colorado State on Jan. 12, 2002. UW's 11 MW wins this season also tie a program record set in 2001-02.
All five seniors started and found ways to contribute. Nance earned his seventh double-double of the season. Fellow forward Derek Cooke Jr. had 11 points and two blocks to score in double figures for the fifth time in UW's last six games. Guard Riley Grabau added nine points on three triples and is now just four made threes away from fourth in school history. Guard Charles Hankerson Jr. added six points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. And maybe the most impressive of the group, guard Jack Bentz notched a career-high six assists in his first career start. Junior guard Josh Adams came off the bench for 17 points to become the 34th Cowboy to reach 1,000 points. He also tied a career high with eight assists.
"Jack Bentz represents everything there is good about college athletics and there are a lot of things not so good," Shyatt said. "Jack represents a lot of wonderful things and I am glad his family was able to be here to enjoy it too."
Wyoming shot 56 percent (30-of-54) from the field and 33 percent (7-of-21) from deep, while Utah State connected on 46 percent (22-of-48) and 33 percent (6-of-18), respectively. The Cowboys outrebounded the Aggies, 30-21, and racked up 26 assists, their most since 2009, and committed a season-low six turnovers.
The Cowboys conclude the regular season at New Mexico on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT in The Pit.