RAPID CITY, S.D. (Dec. 7, 2013) – Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. posted a career-high 25 points, including the game-winning free throw with two seconds left in overtime, to give the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team a 67-66 overtime win over South Dakota on Saturday night in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Coyotes (3-5) took a four-point lead in the extra frame, but Nance scored the last two buckets for the Cowboys (7-2) and was fouled on the final shot to give him the chance to win the game at the charity stripe.
Nance was the hero of the night, but he almost didn’t get a chance. USD went up 66-62 with 1:41 left in the extra period and looked to be in control. Nance responded with a dunk on UW’s ensuing possession to cut the advantage to two and USD missed a jumper to set up Nance’s final shot. He caught a pass in the left corner and worked his way along the baseline to make the basket and be fouled with two seconds left. He calmly sank the free throw to give the Pokes the one-point lead. USD had a good look at a jumper for its final shot, but the shot skipped off the rim.
Nance connected on 9-of-14 from the field and 7-of-11 at the free throw line, while adding nine rebounds, a block and a steal for the third 20-point game of his career. Fellow junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. had a career night as well, as he grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and added eight points and two steals. Sophomore guard Josh Adams was UW’s only other scorer in double figures with 12 points.
The Cowboys trailed most of the second half, including by as much as seven points at the midway point, but fought back in the final minute. Junior guard Riley Grabau made a three with 20 seconds left and Nance added a free throw to push UW in front 60-57 with just six seconds left. USD was fouled with three seconds to go and made its first free throw, while missing its second intentionally. The Coyotes got the rebounded and were fouled again to make two free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the regulation and tie the game.
The Pokes shot 43 percent (21-of-48) for the game and 36 percent (7-of-19) beyond the arc, compared to 35 percent (22-of-63) and 25 percent (5-of-20) for the Coyotes. USD earned a 39-33 advantage on the boards, but UW posted a 15-8 lead in assists and 7-2 in steals.
Wyoming went back-and-forth with South Dakota in the first half with six leads changes and three ties. UW etched out a slim 20-14 lead midway through the half with an 8-0 spurt thanks to back-to-back threes from freshman guard Trey Washington III and a layup from redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry. The Coyotes responded with a 13-4 run to end the half and go into the break ahead 27-24. Cooke and Nance earned layups down the stretch for the Pokes, but UW trailed at halftime for just the second time this season.
Grabau and Washington posted six points each in the first half, while Cooke grabbed eight rebounds. The Cowboys shot 36 percent (9-of-25) from the field in the first half and 33 percent (5-of-15) beyond the arc to 35 percent (10-of-28) and 25 percent (2-of-8), respectively, for South Dakota. Wyoming earned a 6-1 advantage in assists, but was outrebounded 21-16.
Wyoming continues its season at Denver on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. MT.
–UW Sports Information Office