Wyoming tops Pack in overtime
LARAMIE, Wyo. — After the first meeting between Nevada and Wyoming, Wolf Pack forward A.J. West said he didn’t know who Larry Nance Jr. was. He does now, after Nance scored 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and sank a running 8-foot hook shot over West with four seconds remaining in overtime to lift Wyoming over Nevada 64-62 on Saturday.
Riley Grabau scored 13 and Josh Adams 12 for the Cowboys (13-6, 4-2 Mountain West).
Deonte Burton had 25 points to lead Nevada (10-10, 5-2) but fouled out with 2:06 left in overtime. Jerry Evans Jr. had 14 points and Michael Perez 11 for the Wolf Pack, who had won 61-58 in Reno in the conference opener after Nance missed a last-second shot.
Earlier in the week, Burton was quoted as saying he hates playing in Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium, which is due for a $30 million face-lift this summer.
Nance used Burton and West’s comments as extra motivation.
“You know what? That makes it so much better,” Nance said of the last-second victory. “Where they can feel so confident to talk about us like that and we get the fan support that we did and we come in here and beat ‘em like that, it just makes it that much better.”
The crowd of 6,944 — the largest of the season for Wyoming —was especially loud throughout.
“I loved it. I enjoy that atmosphere,” Burton said. “It’s fun to be out there in that environment.”
Nance’s offensive rebound and dunk gave the Cowboys a 62-59 lead with 1:33 left in the extra frame, but Cole Huff hit a free throw after Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt was issued a technical foul for protesting a palming call against Adams. Nevada retained possession and Evans sank a 10-footer to tie it at 62 with 34 seconds remaining.
Wyoming’s plan was to penetrate for the last shot, but when Adams found the lane clogged, he passed to Nance, who was able to cross into the paint and can the winner with a high-arcing shot.
“It kind of presented itself,” Nance said. “I really don’t shoot that, not a running hook, but it went in tonight.”
Perez’s shot from just past half court was wide at the final buzzer and the Cowboys had their fourth straight win.
Shyatt had high praise for Burton, who was 5 of 8 from long range.
“He’s a terrific player,” Shyatt said. “You play Nevada, and Burton hits five 3s, the odds of beating them are ridiculous. We dodged a heck of a bullet. We won this game on the defensive end.”
Perez sank a trey to tie it at 47 with just under 6 minutes to play in regulation. Grabau made a tough layup but Perez tied it again by stealing a pass and hitting a layup. After another Wyoming turnover, Burton’s long 3-pointer put the Wolf Pack up 52-49, but Adams answered with a driving layup to trim the lead to one.
Burton’s two free throws gave Nevada a 54-51 lead with 30.3 seconds left in regulation, but Adams blazed past the defense for another layup and was fouled by Perez with 26.3 seconds to go. He completed the three-point play to tie it at 54 and Burton missed a long 3 at the regulation buzzer.