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Pokes improve to 13-0

Jan 3, 2013 - From staff reports

Senior forward Leonard Washington notched 19 points and 11 rebounds and scored 13 of the University of Wyoming men's basketball team's final 17 points to guide the Pokes to a 59-56 win at SMU on Wednesday night in Moody Coliseum. The Cowboys trailed by four with just over six minutes left, before Washington took over down the stretch to give Wyoming its best start in program history at 13-0.

Neither team led by more than three points through the first 13 minutes of the second half, until SMU (10-5) etched out a four-point advantage, 46-42, with 6:43 left. Washington responded with back-to-back threes, including banking in the second one, and freshman guard Josh Adams capped the 8-0 run with a fast-break dunk to put UW up 50-46 with 5:13 to go.

The Mustangs would claw back to tie the game at 56-56 with 1:01 to go, but Washington grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with 24 seconds left. He made the first free throw and missed the second one, but redeemed himself by stealing an SMU pass on the ensuing possession and throwing down a dunk to put Wyoming up 59-56 with 16 seconds left. The Mustangs would earn one final shot and their long three brushed the net, but didn't go through the rim.

Washington posted his sixth double-double of the season, while adding two assists, two blocks and two steals. Adams added 11 points for his third game in double figures this season, while sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. added 12 points, five rebounds and three steals.

Wyoming shot 45 percent (20-of-44) from the field, including 52 percent (12-of-23) in the second half, and 36 percent (7-of-19) beyond the arc. SMU hit on a similar 46 percent (22-of-47) from the field, but couldn't connect on a three-point basket (0-of-5). The Mustangs earned a 31-24 advantage in rebounds.

It was a back and forth first half that featured four ties and four lead changes. SMU took the early advantage, but back-to-back threes from sophomore guard Riley Grabau kept Wyoming in the game, 14-13, with 11:48 to go. The Pokes responded with an 8-1 run, including two buckets from Nance, to go up 21-17 at the 6:30 mark. The Mustangs would fight back to tie the game twice down the stretch and earned a slight 29-17 lead at the break.

Nance and Grabau scored six apiece in the first half, while Washington added four points and six rebounds. The Pokes shot 38 percent (8-of-21) from the field and 33 percent (3-of-9) beyond the arc to 50 percent (12-of-24) from the field for the Mustangs. SMU was 0-of-4 from deep in the first half. Wyoming was whistled for nine fouls to seven for SMU, and committed nine turnovers to six. Both teams earned 14 rebounds.

The Pokes and Mustangs exchanged the lead 11 times in the second half, including four ties. Neither team led by more than three points until SMU etched out a four-point advantage, 50-46, with 6:43 to go.

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