Dec. 18, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
Senior guard Luke Martinez notched a career-high 25 points and sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. added a career-high 21 points to push the University of Wyoming men's basketball team a 71-61 win over Denver on Tuesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes led the Pioneers the entire way to move to 11-0 on the season and earn the eighth 11-game winning streak in program history.
"It was a really physical game -- toughness, competiveness, style of play game," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "I have the utmost respect for Coach [Joe Scott] and his program. I think this game is going to be a very a strong win for us when we look back at the end of the season. I see this as one of the best ball clubs we've played. [Denver] made a couple runs, and they would get it to three or four but our guys were very resilient."
The Cowboys led the Pioneers (3-6) by six at halftime and extended the lead to as many as 13 points with four minutes left, before Denver made a late push to climb within six points with 1:20 to go. A layup from senior forward Leonard Washington and free throws from senior guard Derrious Gilmore iced the game for Wyoming, though.
Martinez went 9-of-12 from the field and 5-of-6 beyond the arc for his career high and added two assists and a steal, while Nance was 5-of-8 from the field and an impressive 11-of-11 at the free throw line. He added five rebounds and two steals. Gilmore rounded out UW's scorers in double figures with 12 points and three assists. Washington scored less than 10 for just the second time this season, but posted a career-high five assists.
"I've said this all year, it's so noticeable to me when we make foul shots -- again we go 19 for 21 for 90 percent, and we lead the league," Shyatt said. "It would be so noticeable to others if we were missing those foul shots, and we would have three, possibly four more, losses this season already. Larry Nance for example, went 11 for 11. Derrious Gilmore went four for four, Luke Martinez -- two for two. Those are important and without those you put yourself in a position where you're putting so much pressure on your defense."
The Pokes shot a season-high 64 percent (22-of-34) from the field and 66 percent (8-of-12) beyond the arc, while Denver hit on 53 percent (23-of-43) and 46 percent (6-of-13). The Pokes earned a 21-15 advantage in rebounds and 16-12 in assists. UW shot above 90 percent at the free throw line for the third time with a 19-of-21 performance (91 percent) against DU.
Wyoming got off to a hot start thanks to treys from freshman guard Josh Adams and two-straight by Martinez, who started the game 5-of-5 from the field. An old fashion three-point play from Washington put the Cowboys up by double digits at 14-4 eight minutes into the game. The Pokes kept the advantage through the middle minutes thanks to three-straight baskets from Martinez, before the Pioneers clawed back within three points down the stretch to go into halftime down just 28-24.
Martinez had 13 points in the first half, while Nance added seven points and Washington had five rebounds. Wyoming shot an impressive 61 percent (11-of-18) from the field and 80 percent (4-of-5) from deep to 50 percent (10-of-20) and 57 percent (4-of-7) for Denver. The Pokes earned an 11-6 advantage on the boards, but the Pioneers had a 6-2 margin in steals and both teams had seven assists.
The second half was more of the same. The Pioneers pulled within two at 34-32 three minutes into the second half, but that would be as close as they could get. The Pokes expanded the advantage to 10 at the 13-minute mark with a 46-36 score and maintained the advantage down the stretch. Denver made a late run to pull within six at the 1:20 mark, but the Pokes iced the game with a layup from Washington and free throws from Gilmore. Nance posted 14 points in the second half, Martinez had 12 and Gilmore added 10.
Wyoming wraps up the 2012 calendar year by hosting UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. on Friday in the Arena-Auditorium.