Nov. 16, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
Senior forward Leonard Washington's 17 points paced four Cowboys in double figures and sparked a second-half rally to guide the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a hard-fought 67-60 win over Southern in the final game of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase on Friday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (4-0) trailed by eight points midway through the final 20 minutes, before Washington found his rhythm at the free throw line and the Cowboys tightened up the defense down the stretch.
"I am proud of how we finished tonight," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We made our free throws when we needed to and made stops in six of the last eight possessions down the stretch. We took this game from [Southern] in the last four minutes. We really didn't play our best in terms of effort tonight in the first part of the game. I have told the kids that sometimes in life you have to learn lessons the hard way and tonight we dodged a bullet. We need to come back to practice on Sunday as if we are 3-1."
With Wyoming down 46-38 to hot-shooting Southern (1-4), Washington scored seven of UW's next nine points to pull the Cowboys within three at the seven-minute mark. Threes from sophomore guard Riley Grabau and senior guard Luke Martinez sandwiched a dunk from sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. to tie the contest at 56-56 with four minutes to go. The Pokes would go on a 9-4 run down the stretch to seal the win. Washington hit two free throws, Martinez hit two as well and nailed a trey, while Grabau sealed it with two free throws with 30 seconds left. The Poke defense facilitated the run with several key stops over the final minutes.
Washington's 17 points were his fourth-consecutive game in double figures, as he also notched eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks to earn tournament MVP. Nance notched his first career double-double with a career-high 12 points and 12 rebounds, while senior guard Derrious Gilmore posted 12 points as well. Martinez rounded out UW's double-figure scorers with 11 to also earn all-tournament honors.
"I was very pleased to see Leonard Washington get MVP because he took control of this game and control of this team down the home stretch," Shyatt said. "He and Nance owned the glass the last four minutes. Larry's first career double-double was great. The sophomore is starting to look like an older player."
Wyoming trailed most of the opening 20 minutes, as Southern shot 45 percent (11-of-24) from the field and 50 percent (4-of-8) in the first half. The Jaguars went in front by as many as four, but the Pokes battled back to tie the contest at 11-11 midway through the first half on back-to-back layups from freshman guard Josh Adams. SU went back out in front, before three-straight treys from Gilmore pushed Wyoming back in front 25-23 with 3:33 left in the half. The two squads would exchange the lead four times down the stretch until junior guard Nathan Sobey made a jumper with 30 seconds left to send Wyoming into halftime up 29-28.
Gilmore paced the Pokes with nine points in the first half, thanks to the three treys, while Washington had five points and six rebounds. The Pokes connected on 35 percent (10-of-28) from the field and just 20 percent (3-of-15) beyond the arc in the first half, while being outrebounded 15-14.
Southern started the second half hot, hitting 6-of-9 from deep, to facilitate a 12-0 run that put them up 46-38 midway through the half. Washington rallied the Pokes, though, as he scored seven of UW's next nine points to pull within three and swing momentum Wyoming's way. Grabau and Martinez each hit a trey to tie it up at 56-56 with 3:50 left and the Cowboys would outscore the Jaguars 9-4 down the stretch for the win. Washington hit two free throws in the run, Martinez hit two as well and added a three, while Grabau iced it with two free throws with 30 seconds left.
Nance scored 10 points and added eight rebounds in the second half, while Washington scored 12 of his 17 in the final 20 minutes. Wyoming outrebounded Southern 14-12 in the second half.
Wyoming continues its season in Greeley, Colo., against Northern Colorado on Wednesday at 7 p.m.