LARAMIE, Wyo. (Jan. 1, 2014) – Freshman guard Trey Washington III posted a career-high 24 points to guide the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team to a 69-52 win over Western State on Wednesday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. The Cowboys (9-4) led by just nine early in the second half, before reeling off a 17-3 run to take control for their first win on New Year’s Day since 1946.
“This was a very important game for Trey Washington,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “We played three point guards a lot last season, and it made it very hard to zone us. I’m really happy that he was able to make some shots today because our opponents will see this tape. He’s got a quick trigger and an accurate one. He’s shooting over 50 percent from three now. That is important, because we can and will play [Riley] Grabau, [Josh] Adams and Trey in the same lineup together.”
The Mountaineers (0-10) gave the Pokes a tight contest in the first half and pulled within 36-27 early in the second half, but Wyoming started to work inside. Senior guard Nathan Sobey pushed in a driving layup, before junior forwards Derek Cooke Jr. and Larry Nance Jr. added layups of their own to help the Pokes open up the outside shot. Washington and junior guard Riley Grabau capped the UW spurt with treys to put the Pokes up by 23 with 10 minutes left.
“[Western State] made some shots early, and they were holding the ball until late in the shot clock against our man-to-man,” Shyatt said. “We switched to zone because they knocked in some shots, and I didn’t want to watch us guard for 28 to 30 seconds every time they brought the ball down. I thought our guys did a good job making that adjustment.”
Washington’s first career game with more than 20 points came on 8-of-11 from the field, 5-of-8 beyond the arc and 3-of-5 at the charity stripe. He added career highs of five rebounds and three assists. Nance broke his streak of three-straight double-doubles with nine points and three rebounds against the Mountaineers, while Cooke had a team-high eight rebounds.
Wyoming shot 51 percent (25-of-49) for its seventh game this season over 50 percent from the field and connected on 38 percent (8-of-21) from three. The Cowboys posted season highs in bench points (41) and points off turnovers (27), while earning a 28-4 advantage in points in the paint and 32-23 in rebounds. Western State’s 52 points were a season low for a UW opponent.
The Mountaineers led the Pokes by as many as six points through the first eight minutes of the game, before a switch to zone defense by Wyoming stymied the WSU offense. Redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry started a 12-0 Cowboy run with a three, as the spurt put UW up 20-14 with nine minutes left in the half. The Mountaineers cut the lead to three, but the Pokes ended the half with an 11-2 run to go into halftime with a double-figure advantage at 34-22. Washington posted 15 points in the first half, including three threes, to help Wyoming shoot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field and 40 percent (4-of-10) from deep. Western State started hot, but finished the half at 33 percent (7-of-21) and 23 percent (3-of-13), respectively.
The Cowboys open the Mountain West season on Saturday at Nevada at 4 p.m. MT.
–UW Sports Information Office