LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Junior guard Josh Adams posted 14 points, including the first eight of the second half, and the University of Wyoming men's basketball team used another historic defensive effort to down Colorado, 56-33, on Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. A crowd of 9,066 raucous fans saw the Pokes (3-0) turn a two-point halftime lead into a blowout, as the Buffs (2-1) managed just nine points and two field goals in the second half. CU's 33 points were the fewest for a UW opponent since 29 by Air Force on Feb. 20, 1982, the first game in the AA.
"That was huge," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We've been hoping we could get eight to nine thousand people in here and have them have some fun. We need them every night now. It adds to your defense and adds to your passion. Kudos to our fans that showed up tonight. We really appreciate that."
The Cowboys looked to be in for another back-and-forth affair with the Buffs, who were receiving votes in both national polls, but Adams quickly expanded Wyoming's 26-24 halftime lead with back-to-back threes and a break-away dunk. CU responded with a three, but redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon added a trey of his own to push the advantage back to double digits and the rout was on from there. The 23-point win was the largest margin of victory in the series since 1987.
"I can't say enough about our guys," Shyatt said. "At halftime we talked about defense, rhythm and being physical. We really didn't make a whole lot of offensive adjustments, except we knew they would go to some trapping at some point so spacing was important. A lot of things went right, but the most impressive thing was a defensive efficiency rating of 0.3. That means every time they touched the ball they made 0.3 points."
Wyoming shot over 50 percent from the field for a third-straight contest, hitting on 52 percent (22-of-42) overall and 41 percent (9-of-22) beyond the arc. The Pokes posted a perfect 22 assists on 22 made baskets and now have more than 20 assists in all three games this season. CU's nine points in the second half came on two field goals, including one three, and four free throws, as the Buffs shot 10 percent (2-of-20) from the field in the half and 28 percent (12-of-43) for the game. UW's nine steals were a season high.
Ten of Adams' 14 points came after halftime, as he chipped in seven assists, three rebounds and a steal. Senior forward Larry Nance and senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. contributed 10 points apiece. Nance added five rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals, while Hankerson had four rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Wyoming built an early advantage to open the game and went up by as many as eight points midway through the half, before Colorado responded with an 11-0 run to go ahead 22-19 with just over three minutes to halftime. Nance would score the final four points of the half, though, to give the Cowboys a 26-24 lead at the break. Both teams shot over 44 percent from the field in the opening half. Wyoming earned an 11-5 advantage in assists, but trailed 15-11 in rebounds.
The Pokes host Florida A&M on Monday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.