Washington leads Wyoming past Nevada 68-48
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) – Leonard Washington’s continued resurgence and the return of Larry Nance Jr. helped Wyoming snap a five-game conference losing streak.
Washington had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks and matched his career high with five steals to lead Wyoming to a 68-48 win over Nevada on Wednesday night. His effort followed an 18-point, 15-rebound performance in a close loss at Boise State. In the two prior games, Washington had 11 points and nine rebounds combined.
The Cowboys shot 71 percent in the second half (15 of 21) and their 68 points was the most in 13 games.
“It’s not nothing that we’ve been trying to work on. It’s just our team being unselfish,” Washington said of the offense. “If one guy has the hot hand, I would like to get the ball to that guy every time.”
Derrious Gilmore added 15 points and Josh Adams 12 for the Cowboys (17-7, 3-7 Mountain West).
Deonte Burton scored 13 while Malik Story had 11 and Kevin Panzer 10 for Nevada (12-12, 3-7).
Nance sat out the Boise State game with a right wrist injury. He returned with the wrist heavily taped, won the opening tip and scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds in 28 minutes.
“It just brings us back to ourselves,” Washington said of Nance’s return. “He comes back into the starting lineup and just does a great job at everything he does. It helps us a lot to have Larry back.”
Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said a key was keeping Nevada off the offensive glass.
“To play that team, with their athleticism, and give up only four offensive rebounds was a great job, and not just by Leonard and Larry but by our little guys who hustled after balls,” Shyatt said.
Nevada coach David Carter said it was the worst second half his team has played all year, getting outscored 39-29 and getting outrebounded 12-6. The Wolf Pack had only four assists on the night.
“Our energy and our commitment to guard was not there tonight,” Carter said. “I don’t know what happened. It just seems like it snowballed from one guy to the next guy and the next guy.”
Nevada was coming off a big win over Air Force, but Carter said the conference schedule, in which home and road games are generally alternated, makes it difficult to sustain momentum.
“It seems like every time you go on the road, the team that you’ve come on the road to play, they just came off the road,” he said. “The home team seems to have the upper edge.”
Story said the Wolf Pack are adjusting to life in the Mountain West, which he said is more difficult than Nevada’s former league, the Western Athletic Conference.
“As a team we have to hit open shots. We have to kick to other people,” he said. “We can’t just come to me and Deonte all the time. It’s hard, especially in the Mountain West. This isn’t the WAC where a person can take over. We’re starting to realize that. It can’t be a two-headed monster.”
Riley Grabau and Gilmore each drained 3-pointers to start the second half, which put the Cowboys up 35-19. Washington’s long jumper pushed the margin to 43-25 with 14:52 remaining and his dunk on a fast break made it 65-42, the widest margin, with 3:33 left. His own steal set up the play.
Nevada had drawn within 47-36 after Burton stole the ball and made a floater. But Adams sparked a 9-0 spurt with two fast-break layup attempts that resulted in four free throws and he also sank a 3 to give Wyoming a 56-36 advantage.
The Cowboys ranked eighth in 3-point shooting during conference play but finished 9 of 18. Reserve Nathan Sobey sank 3 of 3 from long range in the first half and finished with a career-high nine points.
“I’m always ready for whenever my team needs me to come off the bench,” Sobey said. “Credit to my team and the coaches that I was in the right spot at the right time.”
Sobey hit a pair of 3s and Adams added one during a 9-0 run that put Wyoming up 24-15. Jordan Burris sank a 17-footer from the left baseline to draw the Wolf Pack within 27-19 before Washington closed the first-half scoring with a layup.
Nevada’s last lead was 5-4 after a dunk by Story just over five minutes into the contest.