LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. notched his first double-double this season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but the University of Wyoming men's basketball team dropped a hard-fought 45-42 game at Cal on Wednesday night. The Pokes (8-2) battled through their fourth-lowest scoring game in shot clock history and were within two of the Bears (8-1) with 24 seconds left, but two-straight turnovers gave Cal the contest.
The Cowboys held a 16-15 lead at halftime, but the Bears quickly took the lead in the second half and extended the advantage to as much as seven midway through the half. Cal held the Pokes at bay and was up by the same amount with five minutes to go, before Nance crafted a personal 7-2 run to pull Wyoming within 41-39 with just under three minutes left. The Cowboys would have several chances to tie the contest down the stretch, but missed shots and turnovers couldn't give the Cowboys a win on the road.
Nance's 45th career game in double-figure points came on 5-of-15 from the field and 3-of-5 at the free throw line, while adding his 15th game in double-figure rebounds of his career. He also contributed two steals and two assists in 38 minutes. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. notched eight points, four assists and a career-high eight rebounds, while fellow senior guard Riley Grabau had five points and four rebounds.
As a team, though, Wyoming had its worst shooting performance of the season, hitting just 32 percent (15-of-46) from the field and three of 14 threes. The Cowboy defense held Cal to 35 percent (18-of-51) and just four treys, while outrebounding the Bears 33-32. The Pokes notched a season-low nine assists and committed 11 turnovers.
The first half was a battle, as Wyoming earned a 16-15 lead at the break by holding its seventh opponent this season to 20 points or less in a half. Three points was the largest lead in the opening half with three ties and six lead changes. Nance paced the Pokes with six points and eight rebounds, but Wyoming hit just 29 percent (7-of-24) in the first half. The good news was the Cowboys held Cal to 26 percent (6-of-23) and earned a 20-15 advantage on the boards. Both teams had two threes in the first half, but the Bears couldn't get a point the last 5:35 before halftime.
Wyoming returns to the Arena-Auditorium to host Montana State on Sunday at noon MT.