Larry Nance, Jr. (UW)
LARAMIE, Wyo. (Dec. 20, 2013) – Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. notched 16 points and a season-high 13 rebounds to help the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team lead SMU late on Friday night in the Arena-Auditorium, but the Mustangs closed the game with an 11-2 run to earn a hard-fought 62-54 win over the Cowboys. The loss snapped a 27-game non-conference home winning streak for the Pokes (7-4) during the regular season, as the Mustangs collected their 10th win on the year. A crowd of 4, 486 attended the game.
Sophomore guard Josh Adams banked home an acrobatic layup with 4:21 left in the game to cap a 7-2 Wyoming run and put the Pokes up 52-51 on the Mustangs (10-2). SMU responded with a 7-0 spurt of its own to go up six with just under a minute left, though, as UW could only muster two free throws down the stretch. The Mustangs added four more free throws to ice the game.
“As good a job as we did in the paint the first half, our defense was really, really porous in the second half,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “It was a combination of our interior players not quite having the fight that we had in the first half combined with a couple missed assignments. But we still had an opportunity to win that ball game with three and half minutes to play, and really just didn’t execute what we wanted to get done on the offensive end.”
Nance claimed his fourth double-double this season and has now scored 95 points over the last four games, including setting a career high in points twice. He went 6-of-11 from the field on Friday night and 3-of-4 at the free throw line, while tying a career high with three blocks. Redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry tied a career-high with 12 points, while adding four assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Josh Adams scored 10 points for his seventh game in double figures this season.
Wyoming had one of its worst statistical nights of the season. The Pokes shot a season-low 34 percent (16-of-46) from the field and hit just 26 percent (6-of-23) beyond the arc. UW’s 23 three attempts were a season high, while its 16 field goals were a season low. SMU connected on 45 percent (25-of-55) from the field but just two of its seven three-point attempts. The Mustangs earned a season-high 34 points in the paint for a UW opponent and outrebounded the Pokes 39-29.
Despite the poor shooting, Wyoming still traded the lead five times with SMU in the second half. The Mustangs opened the half with a 6-0 run to take the lead, before threes from Nance, Granberry and senior guard Nathan Sobey pulled the Pokes back in front. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. added an emphatic dunk and Granberry hit a layup, as Wyoming had the most momentum it had seen all game. SMU would work its way back in front, though, before UW’s final push.
The first half was a defensive battle, as both teams scored a season low for the first half. The teams traded baskets through the first 10 minutes, before back-to-back buckets from Nance, including a big dunk, gave UW the momentum at 14-10. Adams stretched the lead to five, but SMU responded with a 7-0 run to go back in front. Free throws from Sobey and Hankerson gave the Cowboys a slim 22-21 advantage at the break.
Neither team shot particularly well in the first half. UW connected on 30 percent (6-of-20) from the field and just two of its 18 three-point attempts, while SMU hit 32 percent (9-of-28) and one three in five attempts. The Pokes earned a 20-16 advantage on the boards, but committed nine turnovers and the Mustangs collected six steals.
Wyoming continues its season against Northern Colorado on Sunday at 4 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.
–UW Sports Information Office