Senior forward Leonard Washington posted his 10th double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds to power the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team to a dominant 68-48 win over Nevada on Wednesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (17-7, 3-7) led by 10 at halftime and extended the advantage to as much as 23 in the second half en route to their largest win in Mountain West play since 2002.
“I feel so great for our guys that they have been able to get 17 wins at this point of the season,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “There are a lot of teams around the country that would like to be 17-7 right now. I’m proud of them, and I’m proud of their defensive effort night in and night out.”
The Cowboys started the second half with back-to-back threes and stretched the lead to 18 five minutes into the half, but the Wolf Pack (12-12, 3-7) clawed back to within 11 with 9:45 to go. UW responded with a 14-0 to push the lead to 23, its largest of the game, with just over six minutes left, and never looked back from there. The 20-point margin of victory was Wyoming’s largest in the MW since a 95-72 win over Colorado State on Jan. 12, 2002.
Washington went 7-of-12 from the field and 2-of-4 at the free throw line against Nevada, while adding three blocks and tying a career high with five steals. His three blocks moved him into 10th on UW’s all-time blocks list with 87 in his career. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore added 15 points, five assists and two steals for his fifth game in double figures in UW’s last six contests. Freshman guard Josh Adams rounded out UW’s double-figure scorers with 12 points.
The Pokes shot 53 percent (23-of-43) from the floor and 50 percent (9-of-18) beyond the arc, compared to 44 percent (19-of-43) and 41 percent (5-of-12) for Nevada. Wyoming was outrebounded 27-23, but earned a 13-4 advantage in assists and 11-5 in steals.
“Our defense helped our offense tonight,” Shyatt said. “I can remember at least two or three defensive boards by [Leonard] Washington where he outletted the ball quick, and a couple deflections by [Josh] Adams that led to scores on the break. We’ve struggled scoring in this conference, so it was good to see us get some easy baskets. Derrious [Gilmore] knocked in an early three, and Adams had two near dunks on the break. If we can just create eight to 10 points in transition, it takes a little pressure off our guys.”
The first six minutes of the first half were back and forth, until back-to-back threes from junior guard Nathan Sobey and Gilmore pushed the Pokes in front 13-5 at the 11:46 mark. Nevada hit two-straight treys of its own to tie the game at 15-15 with 8:48 left, but the Cowboys ended the half on a 14-4 run to take a 29-19 lead into halftime. Wyoming has held two MW opponents to less than 20 in the opening half this season.
Sobey paced the way for Wyoming in the first half with nine points, while Adams and Gilmore both added five. The trio combined for five threes, as UW hit 5-of-10 (50 percent) beyond the arc in the first half and 8-of-22 (36 percent) from the floor and held Nevada to 34 percent (8-of-23) and 33 percent (2-of-6), respectively.
Nevada earned a 17-15 advantage on the boards.
, but committed seven turnovers to just four for Wyoming.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Wyoming extended the lead to 18 early in the second half thanks to opening the frame with back-to-back treys from sophomore guard Riley Grabau and Gilmore. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. and Washington combined for the next eight points to extend the lead to 43-25 five minutes into the half. Nevada would cut the lead to 11 at 47-36 with 9:45 left, but the Pokes went on a 14-0 run, including seven-straight points from Adams, to go up by 25 with six minutes to go and never looked back. Washington scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the second half, while Gilmore added 10 points.
Wyoming continues it season by hosting Fresno State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.