Cowboys Pummel Portland State, 65-51

Nov. 25, 2011

Laramie, Wyo.

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The University of Wyoming men's basketball used a balanced offensive attack and a stifling defense to open the Jim Thorpe Classic with a 65-51 win over Portland State on Friday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Vikings (2-2) pulled within six points in the first minute of the second half, but the Cowboys (4-1) crafted a 20-6 run over the next 12 minutes for another win that was highlighted by defensive effort.

"I thought we anted up early on and little-by-little carved a nitch," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "A six-point lead turned into a 10-point lead and so on. It was sort of slow, but I liked the edge we had for a good portion of the game."

Senior center Adam Waddell led all UW scorers with 15 points, while redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez tied his season-high with 13 points and six rebounds. Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington added 12 points and four rebounds and senior guard Francisco Cruz had 11 points. It was the first time this season UW had four players in double figures.

"We did a good job finding the big guys and we were very unselfish in the heart of the game," Shyatt said. "Luke needed that. He knocked in a couple of deep ones. We have been waiting for that and he has been waiting for that."

UW shot 50 percent (27-of-53) from the field and 35 percent (6-of-17) from deep compared to 46 percent (18-of-39) for PSU. It was the first time this season UW has allowed an opponent to shoot over 40 percent, but the Pokes earned a 14-7 advantage in assists and 18-8 in turnovers.

Washington and Waddell scored UW's first nine points to guide the Cowboys to a 9-5 lead at 16:07, before both teams hit a cold streak. A trey from Martinez snapped that and an 8-0 UW spurt ensued with baskets from Washington and Waddell and a three from junior Derrious Gilmore. The run gave the Cowboys their first double-digit lead at 20-8 midway through the half, as UW started the game 8-of-19 while holding PSU to 2-of-10 and four turnovers.

Wyoming went inside for the next few minutes with a dunk from Waddell followed by back-to-back layups from Washington and freshman Larry Nance Jr. The squads exchanged buckets over the final five minutes, until a trey from Cruz gave UW its biggest lead of that half at 35-21 with 1:17 left. Waddell made two free throws down the stretch to send the game to halftime at 35-26.

The Pokes shot 47 percent (10-of-21) from the field in the opening frame, while the Vikings went 48 percent (14-of-29). UW held an 18-11 rebounding advantage and 8-3 in assists. Waddell and Washington both scored 10 points in the first half, while Martinez had five rebounds.

The Vikings quickly pulled within six points at 38-32 to start the second half, but Wyoming responded with a 20-6 run over the next 12 minutes to extend the lead to 20 at 58-38 with 7:37 to go. Waddell and Martinez both had seven in the spurt, while Cruz added six. That was all the Cowboys would need, as the defense took care of the rest and UW cruised down the stretch.

Wyoming continues the Jim Thorpe Classic by hosting Maryland Eastern Shore tomorrow at 7 p.m. Portland State faces Louisiana Tech at 4:30 p.m. in the first game of the day.