Pokes Open MW Play with 76-71 Win Over UNLV [PHOTOS], [AUDIO]

By Keith Kelley – 31 Dec ’14

The Wyoming Cowboys got 29 points from senior forward Larry Nance, Jr. as the Pokes beat UNLV 76-71 tonight (Wednesday) in the Arena Auditorium.  Four Cowboys scored in double figures as they won their conference opener for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

It was a completely different game than the Cowboys are used to winning.  Only one other time this season was Wyoming forced to play a game that didn’t fit their style.  They won that game against New Mexico State.  But tonight, the Runnin Rebels were getting up and down the floor in transition.  But Cowboy head coach Larry Shyatt said he was pleased to see the way that they responded.

Trailing 37-33 at the half, Wyoming went on a 12-2 run, to build a six point lead.  UNLV would take the lead just one more time with under four minutes to play, but the Cowboys would hit their free throws down the stretch–10 of 11 to be exact–and pick up the win.  Nance had quite the individual battle with Rebels forward Christian Wood.  Wood scored UNLV’s first 19 points, and also finished with 29, matching Nance’s output.  But Nance, who turns 22 New Year’s Day, says he’ll take the win anytime.

UNLV is a young and talented team, having one of the nation’s top freshman classes.  But Wyoming’s experience showed late with those big free throw’s and their ability to take care of the ball late as well.  And that’s something that can’t be taught according to Shyatt.

Each team shot the ball extremely well, as the Cowboys shot 53.8% from the field, while the Runnin’ Rebels were 55.1%.  Wyoming senior Derek Cooke, Jr finished with 14 points, while Riley Grabau added a dozen and Josh Adams had ten points.

Wyoming is now 12-2 on the season and 1-0 in the Mountain West.  The Cowboys are at San Jose State Saturday night.

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