Larry Nance Jr. had a career game Sunday afternoon. (UW)
DENVER (Dec. 15, 2013) – Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. posted a career-high 38 points and added a season-high 12 rebounds, but the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team dropped a close 64-61 contest at Denver on Saturday afternoon in Magness Arena. Nance posted the most points by a Cowboy since 2005, but the Pioneers (4-5) made a jumper with three seconds left for the final margin.
The Cowboys (7-3) trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, before battling back with a 14-4 run to tie the contest at 49-49 with 9:16to go. The Pokes and Pioneers would be tied five times down the stretch, before DU’s Brett Olson hit a jumper with three seconds left and was fouled. He sank the free throw to put Denver up three and UW stepped on the sideline on their ensuing possession to turn the ball over and end the game. The home team has won the last 12 meetings between the Pokes and Pioneers.
Nance’s performance was one for the ages, as he finished just two points shy of UW’s single-game top-10 list. His 38 points were the most since Jay Straight scored 41 at Colorado State on Feb. 26, 2005. He knocked down a career-high 15 field goals on 21 attempts and went 8-of-8 at the free throw line, as 23 of his points came in the second half. He added the 12 boards to go with two steals and an assist.
Wyoming shot 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field, but hit a season-low one of its 10 three-point attempts and allowed Denver to shoot a season-high 52 percent (24-of-46) for a Cowboy opponent. The Pioneers made 6-of-18 (33 percent) from three, but UW earned a 30-23 advantage on the boards, 12-8 in assists and 12-3 in second-chance points. The Pokes hit a season-high 89 percent (16-of-18) at the free throw line.
Nance was hot in the first half with 15 points to give Wyoming an early lead, but Denver responded with a 13-2 run to go up by eight, 17-9, midway through the opening frame. Nance kept UW in the game down the stretch, but Denver kept the advantage around three possessions and went into halftime up 32-23. The Pioneers shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field in the first half and 33 percent (3-of-9) beyond the arc, while UW hit 45 percent (10-of-22), but no threes (0-of-3). The Cowboys outrebounded DU, 14-12, but committed seven turnovers to just two for the Pioneers.
Wyoming continues its season by hosting SMU on Friday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com
–Wyoming Sports Information Office