LARAMIE, Wyo. (Dec. 2, 2013) – Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. scored 10 of the University of Wyoming’s final 15 points to give the Cowboy basketball team a hard-fought 79-65 win over Black Hills State on Monday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (6-2) led by just seven points with seven minutes left, but Nance took over on the offensive end and the UW defense held the Yellow Jackets (2-1) to just two field goals the rest of the game.
After trailing the whole first half, BHSU clawed back into the game with an 8-0 run to start the second half and took a 37-36 lead. The Pokes quickly went back in front with a three, but couldn’t shake the Yellow Jackets the majority of the second half. Nance took over with seven minutes left, though, as he hit UW’s next four baskets, including a thunderous dunk, to push the Pokes in front 79-52 with four minutes to go. BHSU responded with a three, but would hit just one more field goal the rest of the game, as the UW defense shored itself up.
“I thought Nathan [Sobey] and Josh [Adams] both gave us a little spark on the defensive end, as well as [Derek] Cooke, and I thought [Larry] Nance gave us a great spark offensively toward the end of the game,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “We fed him, and we’ve been looking to feed him as often as we can and he came up big for us. I think he converted five-straight hoops for us during that last seven-minute stretch.”
Nance paced all five Cowboy starters in double figures with 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal. Sophomore guard Josh Adams contributed 15 points and a career-high six assists, while senior guard Nathan Sobey added 12 points and three assists. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau and junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. both notched 11 points to round out UW’s double-figure scorers. Grabau added four assists and three treys and Cooke had a team-high nine rebounds and two blocks.
“I’ve been asked, who’s going to be the Cowboy go-to guy, and I’m not sure we have one right now and I kind of like it,” Shyatt said. “Looking at the stats, we had five guys in double figures scoring. Some of the best teams I’ve been around have had five guys score in double figures. I like the fact that it’s different guys at different times stepping up on offense.”
Wyoming hit a season-high 31 field goals en route to 61 percent (31-of-51) from the field and 40 percent (6-of-15) from three, while holding the Yellow Jackets to 38 percent (24-of-63) and 27 percent (7-of-26), respectively. BHSU’s 63 field-goal attempts and 26 three-point attempts were both season highs for a UW opponent. Wyoming earned a 36-27 lead on the boards, 17-10 in assists and 10-0 in fast-break points. The Pokes earned a season-high 38 points in the paint.
The Cowboys led the whole first half, but could never really pull away from the Yellow Jackets. Cooke and Nance got the Pokes rolling with several dunks early, before Adams and Grabau starting hitting from outside. A layup from Sobey and free throws from freshman guard Trey Washington III looked to put Wyoming in control, 33-22, with two minutes left in the first half, but BHSU made two baskets in the last minute to go into halftime down just 36-29.
Sobey paced a UW attack that shot 53 percent (14-of-26) in the first half with eight points of his own, while Cooke added six points and was one of three Pokes with four rebounds. Wyoming connected on 3 of its seven three-point attempts (42 percent), while holding the Yellow Jackets to 34 percent (11-of-32) from the field and just 18 percent (2-of-11) beyond the arc. UW earned a 21-13 advantage in rebounds, 8-3 in assists and 8-0 in fast-break points.
Wyoming continues its season against South Dakota on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. MT in Rapid City, S.D
–UW Sports Information Office