Nov. 8, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Junior guard Riley Grabau posted a career-high 17 points and junior forward Larry Nance Jr. added a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds to guide the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a season-opening 78-60 win over UT Martin on Friday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys ended the first half with 15-1 run over the last four minutes to take a 45-33 lead into halftime and never looked back.
"I really like this ball club," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We haven't figured out the `it' yet -- what the DNA of this team is. It was probably the most zone we've played in maybe my entire career, but with the new rules, the game has really changed. I'm disappointed that it has changed, but we have to play with the game the way it is. Our zone kept us out of foul trouble, and that helped us a great deal this evening."
The Pokes (1-0) held a slim advantage the majority of the first half, until the Skyhawks (0-1) clawed back in front at 32-30 with 4:30 to go. Grabau and freshman guard Trey Washington III responded for UW with three-straight threes and junior Derek Cooke Jr. added back-to-back dunks to quickly pull the Cowboys back in front. Nance contributed two free throws with 39 seconds left to push the run to 15-1 and put UW up 12 at the break. UW stretched the advantage to as many as 18 late in the second half.
"Larry [Nance] wasn't as sharp as I've seen him at practice, in terms of catching and finishing, but you get 10 points and 12 rebounds and that's a yeoman's work," Shyatt said. "I'm happy for a couple key guys who haven't been on the court for a while. Jerron [Granberry] and Junior [Charles Hankerson Jr.] both got on the floor for the first time in a while. Riley [Grabau] has shot well throughout practice, so his shooting didn't surprise me. We're going to count a lot on his basketball IQ and Nance's basketball IQ."
Grabau's career night came on 4-of-6 beyond the arc and 5-of-6 at the free throw line, as he added three assists and a steal. Nance also had two assists and two blocks. Washington and redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. were impressive in their career debuts for the Cowboys, as each scored 14 points. Washington hit three treys and Hankerson was a perfect 6-of-6 at the free throw line.
Wyoming shot 47 percent (21-of-44) from the field and 42 percent (8-of-19) beyond the arc, while holding UTM to 35 percent (20-of-57) and 33 percent (7-of-21). The Cowboys claimed a 39-28 advantage in rebounds, 15-6 in assists and 4-1 in blocks. UW posted 33 bench points, 26 points in the paint and 15 points off turnovers.
The Pokes built a 17-6 lead through the first six minutes, before three-straight treys from the Skyhawks pulled them back into the game. UTM took a 20-19 lead at the 11-minute mark, but two threes from Washington gave UW the lead again. The Skyhawks clawed back in front 32-30 with four minutes to go, before UW's 15-1 run to end the half. UTM fought within 11 points at 53-42 with 11 minutes left in the game, but the Cowboys extended the lead back to 18 and cruised from there.
Wyoming continues its season at Colorado on Wednesday at 7 p.m.