Dec. 1, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
Senior forward Leonard Washington posted a season-high 22 points and keyed a late second-half run to push the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 76-69 upset of No. 19/19 Colorado on Saturday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes trailed at halftime, but used a 9-2 run with less than five minutes left to take control and earn the defining win in front of 8,240 fans, the largest crowd in the Double A since 2005.
"I told Leonard [Washington] at halftime I was very proud of the way he came back after missing that one free throw," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "He drew a charge, rebounded and did a number of things that don't show up in the stats. He has always been willing to put his body in harm's way -- all last year and this year, and I believe he sets a great example for [Larry] Nance to learn from."
The Cowboys led the majority of the second half, but couldn't pull away until Washington nailed a three with 5:17 to go. The bomb sparked a 9-2 Wyoming spurt that pushed the Pokes in front 62-54 with 2:26 to go, as the Buffs couldn't close the gap down the stretch.
Washington's night came on 9-of-17 from the field, while his key three was his only make in six attempts. He also added seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals to go with no turnovers. He paced five Pokes in double figures, as sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. posted a career-high 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Luke Martinez scored 13 points, but failed to make a three to break his streak of 36 games with at least one. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore and freshman guard Josh Adams added 12 points each.
"I thought our players will and passion were unmatched tonight," Shyatt said. "We did a tremendous job defensively the second half. We really bent down and guarded. We took a bundle of charges."
The Pokes connected on 48 percent (24-of-50) from the field, but just 28 percent (7-of-25) from deep and 63 percent (21-of-33) at the free throw line. CU hit 42 percent (24-of-58), 42 percent (9-of-21) and 80 percent (12-of-15), while earning a 35-32 advantage in rebounds. UW committed just nine turnovers to 17 for the Buffs and claimed a 5-0 advantage in blocked shots. The Pokes scored a 20-6 margin in points off turnovers.
It was a back and forth first half that seven ties and eight lead changes, as neither team led by more than three. Washington and Nance combined for six of UW's first eight points, before Adams hit the next two baskets from deep midway through the half. Washington would score Wyoming's final seven points of the half, but CU hit a layup with one second left to go into halftime up 28-26.
Washington scored 11 points and had two blocks in the first half, while Nance and Adams added six points apiece. Wyoming was outrebounded 18-15, but earned a 4-0 advantage in blocks. The Cowboys shot 44 percent (10-of-23) from the field, but just 18 percent (2-of-11) beyond the arc, while CU hit 40 percent (12-of-30) and 38 percent (3-of-8).
The Buffs and Pokes exchanged the lead through the first five minutes, until a Nance trey and a layup from junior guard Nathan Sobey layup put the Cowboys in front by four, 38-34, at the 14:22 mark. CU would draw back within one with a three of its own, but couldn't ever go back in front. A three from Gilmore pushed the advantage to nine, 51-42, midway through the half, but the Buffs once again fought back to within five at 55-50 with 7:02 to go. Washington nailed a trey with one second left on the shot clock to spark a 9-2 run from 7:02 to 2:26 that saw UW take control 64-52. The closet CU could get down the stretch was a last-second three to cut the advantage to seven, 76-69.
Wyoming shot 52 percent (14-of-27) from the field in the second half and 36 percent (5-of-14) beyond the arc, compared to 43 percent (12-of-28) and 46 percent (6-of-13) for CU. Gilmore scored 12 points in the half, while Washington and Martinez both added 11.
The Pokes continue their season on Tuesday in Normal, Ill., against Illinois State at 6 p.m. MT.