Big Second Half Pushes Cowboys Past Bradley, 66-49

Dec. 3, 2011

Laramie, Wyo. -

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Redshirt junior Luke Martinez tied a career-high with 20 points and two other Cowboys scored in double figures to push the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 66-49 win over Bradley in front of more than 4,600 fans in the Arena-Auditorium on Saturday. The Cowboys (8-1) trailed at halftime, but dominated the Braves (3-4) in the second half en route to their sixth-consecutive win and longest winning streak since 2002-03.

"Start to finish, I thought we played well on the defensive end," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We switched to a zone in the second half to try and conserve some energy, and we ended up actually playing with more energy and got a lot of deflections that resulted in steals while we were in the zone. I think we took the game from about a four-point game to about a 14-point lead during that stretch."

The Cowboys connected on just 27 percent (6-of-22) in the first half, but came out blazing in the second with a 16-0 run that was part of shooting 57 percent (16-of-28) in the period. UW forced the Braves into 22 turnovers, including 15 in the second half, and held them to no three pointers (0-of-14) for the game.

"Our ability to get 50-50 balls tonight -- loose balls, balls on the floor, rebounds -- were key and was something I was particularly proud of our guys for tonight," Shyatt said. "Their (Bradley's) frontline hurt us in the first half, but that turned around in our favor the second half. It wasn't due to anything we were doing Xs and Os-wise, it was due to the assertiveness on the part of our guys."

Martinez connected on a career-high six treys, going 6-of-10 beyond the arc, while senior center Adam Waddell and redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington dominated the paint. Washington earned 13 points and a block to 15 points for Waddell, who was appearing in his 100th game as a Cowboy. Freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. collected six rebounds, for the third consecutive game he has reached the mark, while senior guard JayDee Luster notched six assists and one steal.

Back-to-back treys from Martinez gave Wyoming a quick advantage to start the game, as he added a jumper to put the Cowboys up 11-3 at the 11:45 mark. Bradley started just 1-of-12 from the field. Both teams stepped up the defensive pressure through the middle minutes, before the Braves clawed within three. Five-straight points from Waddell kept UW in front through the five-minute mark, but BU outscored UW 6-1 over the final 2:53 to take a 21-20 lead into halftime.

Martinez scored eight points in the first half, while Waddell contributed seven. BU owned a slight 18-17 rebounding advantage, and both teams had two assists in the first half. UW shot just 27 percent (6-of-22) in the first half, while BU hit 36 percent (9-of-25).

The Cowboys quickly retook the lead coming out of the locker rooms. Washington hit a layup and Waddell converted an old-fashion three-point play to put UW up four, but the Braves clawed back within one at 25-24 at the 17:41 mark. That's when the Cowboys caught fire with a 16-0 run over the next three-plus minutes for an explosive 41-24 lead with 14:07 left. Martinez hit two treys in the run and Waddell added five points. The UW defense was just as good, forcing BU into 10 turnovers in the first six minutes.

Bradley would cut the lead to eight at 43-35 at the 10:56 mark, but that's as close as the Braves would get the rest of the half. UW stretched the lead to as many as 19 with less than two minutes, the Cowboys shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from the field in the second half and 46 percent (6-of-13) from deep. Washington scored 13 in the second half and Martinez added 12.

Wyoming returns to action with a trip to Colorado on Dec. 9. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in the Coors Events Center.