Nov. 10, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
Senior guard Derrious Gilmore posted a career-high 19 points to propel the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 62-42 season-opening victory over Western State on Saturday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes led by just four at halftime, but crafted a 12-0 run midway through the second half while holding the Mountaineers without a field goal for over eight minutes.
"I thought and Derrious [Gilmore] and Riley [Grabau], our two combo guards out there, did a great job," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Seven assists and one turnover is great. When you're not making shots, you start getting choosy on your passes and I thought they did a great job of finding Leonard and Nance inside at key spots."
Gilmore's career night came on a 7-of-11 showing from the field, including 3-of-6 beyond the arc, to go with a career-high four assists and four steals. Senior forward Leonard Washington added 16 points, seven rebounds and added three blocks. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. added a game-high nine rebounds to go with his eight points. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau had three assists and no turnovers.
The Cowboys shot 35 percent (19-of-54) from the field and 34 percent (9-of-26) from three, while holding Western State to 31 percent (13-of-42) and 26 percent (5-of-19).Wyoming outrebounded the Mountaineers 37-32, including 24-12 in the second half, while forcing 17 turnovers and committing just seven.
"I told them in the locker room that when you go through a long period of time not shooting the ball well, normally there is a drop of the head and some bad habits on the defensive end," Shyatt said. "I never got that feeling, even when we put some of the newer players in and that's a culture we want to build. On your worst shooting night you can still keep that score down and do the things that impact winning like low turnovers and high assists. We weren't pretty offensively, but I was proud of the fact they hung together and got tougher defensively as the game went on."
It was a back and forth first half with three ties and five leads changes. Wyoming took an early lead thanks to a trey from Nance, but Western State fought back to tie it at 11-11 midway through the half. Another three from Washington put the Cowboys back in front 15-13 with eight minutes left, and the Pokes would extended the lead to eight at halftime 24-16.
Washington and Nance both had eight points in the first half, while Gilmore added six points, two assists and three steals. Nance also had six rebounds. Wyoming shot just 30 percent (8-of-26) from the field and 33 percent (4-of-12) from three in the first half to 31 percent (7-of-22) and 37 percent (3-of-8) for the Mountaineers. UW was outrebounded 20-13, but forced 13 turnovers and committed just four in the first half.
The Cowboys started the second half with an 8-2 spurt and capped it with a jumper from Washington to go up by double digits at 36-26, but Western State quickly cut the lead down with a three at the 16:54 mark. Wyoming would dominate from that point on, though, as the Pokes went on a 12-0 run over the next eight minutes, while holding the Mountaineers to no field goals during the stretch. The spurt put the Pokes up 48-29 with eight minutes left in the game, and Wyoming would cruise from there.
Gilmore scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half, while Washington had eight. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau and Nance both made their first career start, while six other Cowboys made their first career appearance.
Wyoming continues its season by hosting the Global Sports Hoops Showcase next week in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys face North Carolina Central at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, South Dakota at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Southern at 8 p.m. on Friday.
"We schedule a tournament three straight days, because if you want to cut the nets down and win a league championship in March, you're going to have to win back-to-back-to-back," Shyatt said. "It's a good experience. We are going to have to use a few more people and I'm hoping these teams come to Laramie and don't like the oxygen."