Nov. 30, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Junior guard Riley Grabau notched 19 points to pace four Cowboys in double figures and guide the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 79-54 win over Montana State on Saturday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (5-2) led by just five at halftime, but came out of the locker room with a 16-3 run and shot 81 percent (13-of-16) from the field in the second half to run their record to 5-0 at home this season.
The Cowboys quickly build on a 37-32 halftime lead by making six of their first eight shots in the second half and holding the Bobcats (2-5) to a 1-of-9 start. Senior guard Nathan Sobey had nine points in the 16-3 run and sophomore guard Josh Adams threw down two thunderous dunks to put Wyoming up 53-35 just six minutes into the half. MSU would only get as close as 13 down the stretch, shooting just 31 percent (9-of-29) in the second half.
"My thoughts generally are I was a little disappointed the first half," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We made shots, but we didn't have an edge on defense. Our players, fortunately, turned that around in the second half. They made a concerted effort to play with and edge on D. We beat them by 11 rebounds in the second half. We held them to 31 percent shooting in the second half and 11 percent from three, and I felt that was the entire key to the game. We really got stops -- and a lot of them -- in the second half, holding them to 22 points."
Grabau's fifth game in double figures this season came on 5-of-5 beyond the arc and 4-of-4 at the free throw line, as he played on his 21st birthday. His five three pointers were a career high. Adams added 17 points, while Sobey and redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry contributed 11 points each. Granberry paced the Pokes with a career-high five assists, while junior forward Larry Nance Jr. was the top Cowboy on the boards with 11.
Wyoming shot a season-high 61 percent (25-of-41) from the field and added a season-high 71 percent (10-of-14) from deep, to shoot over 70 percent from beyond the arc for the first time since 2003. After shooting over 57 and 62 percent, respectively, in the first half, Montana State managed just 31 and 11 in the second to finish at 42 percent (21-of-50) and 35 percent (6-of-17) for the game. Wyoming claimed a 31-22 advantage on the boards, 28-16 in points in the paint and 16-10 in assists.
"We did a great job of finding open people," Shyatt said. "We played very unselfish on offense. It helps a lot -- and I think Coach [Steve] Fisher [of San Diego State] said it best after their big win over Creighton last night -- we always look a little better at both ends when those shots are going in. You have [Jerron] Granberry going 3 for 3 and Riley Grabau, on his 21st birthday, going 5 for 5 from three, that doesn't hurt."
It was a back-and-forth first half that featured eight lead changes and four ties. Neither team led by more than six points until the Pokes ended the half with back-to-back threes from Grabau and two free throws from Granberry for a 37-30 lead with 49 seconds left in the half. MSU responded with a jumper to end the half, though, to send the Cowboys into the break with a five-point advantage. Both teams shot well in the first half, as the Pokes hit 48 percent (12-of-25) from the field, 60 percent (6-of-10) beyond the arc and made all seven free throw attempts. The Bobcats countered with 57 percent (12-of-21) and 66 percent (6-of-9), respectively, and made all three of their free throws.
Grabau scored 15 points in the first half on five treys, while Adams added 13 points. The two have scored in the double figures in the first half in two games this season. UW was outrebounded 12-10, but committed just three turnovers to seven for the Bobcats.
Wyoming continues its homestand by hosting Black Hills State at 7 p.m. MT on Monday in the Arena-Auditorium.