Nov. 26, 2011
Redshirt junior Luke Martinez scored a season-high 18 points and the University of Wyoming men's basketball team played its best defense of the season in a 73-43 win over Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (5-1) dominated the Hawks (1-5) from the opening tip en route to their best start to the season since 2008-09.
"I'm happy for Luke (Martinez)," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "I think it's a burden off him to have a good shooting game. I think our players are probably the happiest for him because they've seen him shoot like this in practice day after day. I like the way Luke plays. He plays with a lot of energy on both ends of the court, but he has a calm about him. He doesn't get too emotional."
Martinez was nearly flawless on the night, as he went 6-of-6 from the field, 5-of-5 beyond the arc and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. He also added six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 18 minutes of action. Senior guard Francisco Cruz contributed 10 points, redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington had seven rebounds and senior guard JayDee Luster notched a season-high six assists.
The Cowboys shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field, including 41 percent (7-of-17) from three, while holding the Hawks to 35 percent (17-of-48) and 38 percent (5-of-13). UW earned a season-high 17 assists to three for UMES, and had eight less turnovers (21-13) than the Hawks.
"At halftime, we had a comfortable lead and I talked to the team about where their focus needed to be in the second half," Shyatt said. "I told them they needed to try and build on that 24-point lead. We played with a capital `U' tonight -- unselfish. We were able to get minutes for a lot of different players, which is good as we try to develop all of our young players."
Wyoming dominated the game right from the start with a 13-2 run behind seven points from senior center Adam Waddell. The Cowboys hit four of their first six shots compared to a 1-of-5 start for UMES through the first five minutes. The squads exchanged buckets until the Hawks pulled within seven at 22-15 midway through the half.
The Cowboys responded with a 23-6 run to end the half. Martinez got the crowd going with a dunk and trey, while Cruz followed with a three of his own. A Leonard dunk preceded back-to-back jumpers from Cruz. Junior guard Derrious Gilmore, freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. and senior forward Afam Muojeke added free throws down the stretch.
Martinez had 12 points in the first half and Waddell added seven. Washington had six points and six rebounds. UW shot 57 percent (16-of-28) in the first half, including 4-of-8 beyond the arc, while holding the Hawks to 36 percent (8-of-22) and 3-of-7 from three. The Cowboys owned an 11-1 advantage in assists and committed five turnovers to 12 for UMES.
Wyoming extended its advantage to as many as 33 through the first six minutes of the second half. Back-to-back treys from Martinez and an old-fashion three-point play from Muojeke put the Cowboys up 61-28. Maryland Eastern Shore whittled the lead down to 24 at the 9:12 mark, but free throws from Muojeke and Nance and a trey from Gilmore down the stretch kept Wyoming comfortably in front.
Martinez scored six in the second half, while Cruz, Gilmore and Muojeke each added five.
Wyoming concludes play in the Jim Thorpe Classic tomorrow at 7 p.m. against Louisiana Tech. Maryland Eastern Shore and Portland State is the first game of the day at 3:30 p.m.