Nov 26, 2001
DENVER (AP) - It took hard work on defense for Donta Richardson to earn achance to show off his skills at both ends of the court.
The hard work paid off and Richardson proved himself Monday night, scoring19 points and sealing the game with two free throws in the final two seconds asWyoming beat Denver 71-68.
"I told Donta that for him to get playing time he would have to showimprovement on the defensive end," Wyoming coach Steve McClain said. "We hadplenty of players on the bench that could score, but what we needed from himwas his defense."
Richardson, 7-for-10 shooting, also drew a key charging foul with 1:37 to gowhen Wyoming (3-1) was clinging to a three-point lead. No other Wyoming starterreached double-figure scoring in beating Denver (1-2) for the 16th time in 17meetings.
"I have learned that the more I get in an opponent's face, the more I willget a chance to score," said Richardson, who played high school basketball inColorado Springs. "I made some plays on defense and the scoring chancesfollowed."
B.J. Pratt led Denver with 24 points, 16 in the second half. Wahhab Carteradded 12 points.
"B.J. gave us so much," Denver coach Terry Carroll said. "What we didn'tget was consistent play from the team. We made the critical turnover or adefensive mistake when we couldn't afford them."
Marcus Bailey gave Wyoming a 47-37 lead with a jump shot, but Pratt scoredeight points and Erik Benzel finished a 19-8 run with a 3-pointer for Denverwith 6:05 left to cut the lead to 58-56.
Josh Davis hit only his fourth shot of the game and Wyoming was able convertonly two free throws over the next three minutes while Pratt hit a 3-pointerand two free throws to keep Denver within striking distance at 63-61.
Sherman Rochell gave Denver its only lead of the second half, 64-63, with abaseline drive and layup with 2:51 left. Richardson's two free throws gaveWyoming the lead again, 65-64.
After a short jumper by Josh Davis, Richardson drew a charging foul and hitan off balance jumper with 1:17 left to extend the lead to 69-64.
Brett Starkey had a layup with 4.9 seconds left after a basket by Carter toget Denver within 69-68, but Richardson converted both free throws to seal thewin.
"Those free throws were big for me," Richardson said. "After the way Iplayed the other night against Eastern Kentucky, I needed this type of game toget back the confidence from my teammates."
Wyoming started the game with a 6-for-20 start and with Bailey and Davis infoul trouble, Wyoming turned to its bench to lead 33-27 at halftime. ParisCormer had seven points and Brandon Dickerson five points to offset eightpoints from Pratt.
"This was huge for us and for Richardson, who got a chance to play close tohome," McClain said. "Most players do better when they to go home."