Wyoming Falls 67-58 in Overtime to #18 Aztecs


San Diego, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2012) – The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team took an upset bid of No. 24/25 San Diego State to overtime on Wednesday night in Viejas Arena, but the Aztecs started the extra period with a 7-0 run to escape with a 67-58 Mountain West win. The Cowboys (18-9, 4-7) led the majority of the game with balanced offensive attack and feisty defense, before the Aztecs (21-6, 7-4) forced three turnovers early in overtime to facilitate the winning spurt.


The Pokes led by six at halftime as many as nine in the second half, but SDSU stormed back to retake the lead with less than two minutes left. Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez nailed a three with 29 seconds left to tie the game at 55-55 and UW held on the ensuing Aztec possession to force the Cowboys’ first overtime game of the season. SDSU quickly took control in the extra frame, though, with a 5-0 run in the first 40 seconds and added another bucket thanks to turnovers by Wyoming. UW cut the lead to five at 62-57 with 1:50 to go, but that was as close as the Cowboys could get.


“The critical thing tonight was we missed foul shots with 45 seconds left to take the lead and they came down and made two,” UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. “We had two chances to win it in regulation, but couldn’t get them. I thought we shot the ball better in the second half tonight, which has been a nemesis for us the last five games.”


The Cowboys got exceptional play from their bench, as senior guard Arthur Bouedo led Wyoming with 11 points, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. added a career-high nine points and four rebounds. Senior center Adam Waddell contributed 10 points and a team-high six rebounds in a career-high 42 minutes of action, while redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington added nine points.


“Larry [Nance Jr.] and Arthur [Bouedo] gave us a good boost tonight,” Shyatt said. “We got in some early foul trouble and our bench really helped us out.”


Wyoming shot well in both halves, averaging 44 percent (20-of-45) from the field for the game and 40 percent (9-of-22) from deep, while SDSU hit 43 percent (25-of-57) and just 27 percent (3-of-11) beyond the arc. The Aztecs outrebounded the Pokes 33-23, and had a 12-11 advantage in assists and 14-10 in turnovers.


It was a defensive battle through the first five minutes, before Nance started an 11-2 Wyoming spurt with a banked-in three. Bouedo followed with another trey, Waddell hit a jumper and Washington capped the spurt with a trey of his own to push the Cowboys in front 13-4 at the 13:22 mark. Defensively, the Pokes held the Aztecs to a 1-of-5 start from the field. The nine-point lead was UW’s largest of the first half, but SDSU crafted a quick 6-0 run to pull within three at 15-12 midway through the half.


Bouedo nailed another three and senior guard JayDee Luster also hit one to swiftly push the advantage back to nine, but the Aztecs once again battled back with a 9-1 spurt to draw within one at 22-21 with 5:03 left in the half. Waddell broke the run with a jumper, but SDSU took its first lead of the game with two free throws at the 2:32 mark. Wyoming ended the half with 6-0 run of its own, though, including a layup from senior guard Francisco Cruz as time expired.


Waddell had nine points and three rebounds in the first half, while Nance added seven points and Bouedo had six. Wyoming shot a blistering 50 percent (11-of-22) from the field and beyond the arc (5-of-10) in the first half compared to 38 percent (9-of-24) and 25 percent (1-of-4) for SDSU. The Aztecs outrebounded the Cowboys 17-9, but UW owned a 13-10 advantage in bench points and 11-2 in points off turnovers.


The Cowboys continued their momentum into the second half with a Luster three early in the frame. Nance hit a jumper as well, while Bouedo hit a three and a jumper to extend the UW advantage to nine at 44-35 with 11:14 left. SDSU would use a 10-1 run over the next seven minutes to tie the contest at 45-45 with 4:37 to go. Washington broke the spurt with a three and the Cowboys surged back in front 52-48 at the 2:43 mark. SDSU would score the next seven points, but Martinez hit a three with 29 seconds left to tie the contest at 55 and UW held on defense to send the game to overtime.


SDSU started overtime with a 7-0 run thanks to three quick UW turnovers and held on for the win. The Cowboys cut the lead to five at 62-57 with 1:50 left, but couldn’t get any closer.


Wyoming continues its season by hosting Boise State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.