LARAMIE — Air Force played well in the first half but had trouble stopping Wyoming’s Leonard Washington.
But some halftime adjustments limited Washington’s touches and allowed the Falcons to build breathing room en route to a 57-48 win over the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Taylor Broekhuis paced the offense with 16 points and had a season-high nine rebounds. Michael Lyons added 11 points and DeLovell Earls 10 for Air Force (12-6, 3-2 Mountain West).
Washington finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Derrious Gilmore added 15 points for the Cowboys (15-4, 2-4).
Washington scored 14 in the first half but took only three shots after the break.
“A lot of it in the first half were mistakes on our part, not staying true to the scouting report, letting (Washington) get to his spots, where he feels comfortable,” Broekhuis said. “In the second half, we were able to push him one step out or bring our trap a little quicker.”
Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said he mixed up defenses in the second half, sometimes using a 2-3 zone, to bring more players to the baseline and help slow Washington.
“Sometimes, we don’t even know what we’re playing,” he said. “How’s the other team know?”
Two free throws by Gilmore cut the Falcons’ lead to 53-48 with 1:59 remaining, but the Cowboys committed a turnover and missed three shots in the closing moments.
Air Force, the 11th-best 3-point shooting team in the nation at 40.1 percent, hit only 5 of 15 from beyond the arc but finished at 44 percent (18 of 41) overall by making nine layups and scoring 24 points in the paint.
Wyoming shot 33 percent, including 18 percent (5 of 28) from 3-point range. The Cowboys’ guards were 7 of 33 (21 percent) from the field.
Broekhuis made a putback layup and 3-pointer to kick-start a 9-2 spurt to start the second half. The run was capped by a layup from Earls, putting Air Force up 38-27. Wyoming gradually chipped away, and a 3 by Gilmore at the 8:24 mark cut it to 44-40.
Air Force hit 5 of 6 free throws and Lyons added a layup to push the margin to 51-40, and the Cowboys would draw no closer than five after that.
Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt didn’t fault his team’s effort but is perplexed that it hasn’t shot better than 25 percent from 3-point range in the last four games.
“It’s hard to compensate when you make (18) percent of your 3s, and that’s on me,” he said, adding that he told the team, “That’s on your head coach. I’ve got to find a way to produce for you more points.”
The Cowboys’ Larry Nance, who finished with six points and eight rebounds, said, “Shots fall, shots don’t fall. We gotta get back in the gym and start shooting again and get some more shots up, and hopefully, we can turn that around.”