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Big Second Half Propels Cowboys Past Nevada in MW Tournament, 85-81

Soph. Larry Nance, Jr.
Jeff Bottari, Getty Images

Larry Nance, Jr. scored 19 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to lead the Wyoming Cowboys to a 85-81 victory over the Nevada Wolfpack in the opening game of the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Basketball Championships in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Nance was one of four UW players in double figures, as the Pokes survived a late push by Nevada and advance to face top seed New Mexico in quarterfinals Wednesday night.

Wyoming (19-12) held a slim 73-72 lead with 2:11 left, but thanks to 10 free throws and three huge turnovers by Nevada, the Cowboys hang on. Leonard Washington converted a key 3-point play with 1:08 left off a steal. That was part of 53 points scored in the second half by UW.

“It was a game of runs,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “I thought our run during the second half, when we came out and showed a level of toughness and a level of rebounding, maybe separated us.  But the shots that they were putting in at the end were terrific.”

A 19-4 run over six minutes at the start the second half put the Pokes in control, 51-40. Nance scored 10 points in the spurt and punctuated it with a steal and dunk off a lob pass from Derrious Gilmore.

Nance went 9-10 from the field and added 3 assists, a block and a steal. Leonard Washington scored 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half, Gilmore had 17 points and Josh Adams chipped in 10. UW shot 27-47 (57.4%) on field goals, 7-18 (38.9%) from deep and was 24-37 (64.9%) at the foul line. They had 18 assists on their 27 field goals, which included a career-high 8 from Gilmore. The 85 points scored were a season-high for UW.

Nevada (12-19) was led by Deonte Burton with 27 points, while Malik Story added 20. The Wolfpack went 28-59 (47.5%) from the floor, 10-25 (40%) from 3-point range and were 15-25 (60%) from the charity stripe.

Burton and Story combined with 8 offensive rebounds helped Nevada to a 36-32 lead at halftime. Thanks to some timely 3-pointers by Nance, Gilmore, Riley Grabau and Nathan Sobey helped them stay within striking distance.

Wyoming will face the New Mexico Lobos on Wednesday night in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Basketball Championships. You can listen to Cowboy basketball on Y95 Country. The broadcast will begin at 7 p.m., with the game scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

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