UW-Denver postgame thoughts

Sorry this is late to be posted, but wanted to get on the road back to Cheyenne as soon as I could before the roads closed. It wasn’t a pleasant drive home.

But it was a good win for the Wyoming men’s basketball team, 71-61 over Denver, Tuesday night at the Arena-Auditorium.

Career games for senior guard Luke Martinez (25 points) and Larry Nance Jr. (21). Martinez was 9 of 12 from the field, 5 of 6 from 3-point range and made both free throws. He also didn’t have a turnover in 35 minutes. UW committed a season-high 17 turnovers. Eleven of Nance’s points came at the free-throw line. He made all 11 free throws and UW was 19 of 21 in the game — its third game this season where it shot better than 90 percent from the line.

This was a rough, slow and physical game, much like what UW will face in the Mountain West. UW shot a season-best 64.7 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from behind 3-point line (8 of 12). And, 16 of its 22 baskets were assisted.

All of UW’s points came from its starters. Three players came off the bench — sophomore guard Riley Grabau (16 minutes), sophomore forward Derek Cooke, Jr. (7 minutes) and junior guard Nate Sobey (four minutes). Grabau looked rusty after missing the last two games, and most of the previous two, with knee pain. He had two turnovers, and came into the game with only four.

UW coach Larry Shyatt said Grabau gave UW “great minutes.” Shyatt also said he was worried based on Grabau’s facial expression about his knee, and said Grabau “tweeked it a little.” Grabau told him he will be fine.

But to me one of the most impressive efforts by the Cowboys was by senior forward Leonard Washington. He had a season-low eight points and Denver defended him well. But he had game-highs with seven rebounds and five assists. Nice to see UW get it done when Washington isn’t the focal point of the offense.

Denver junior forward Chris Udofia had 26 points before he fouled out. He was impressive. Denver shot 53.5 percent from the field and made 6 of 13 from 3, but was just 2 of 6 in the second half from 3-point range and those two came early. UW did a good job of taking that away.

Playing Denver isn’t the easiest of games with its style of play on both ends of the court. But this was a good win for UW coming off a 10-day layoff. The Cowboys are now 11-0, its best start since the 1987-88 season. They can match their best start in school history at home Friday against UC-Santa Barbara (4-6), which lost at California 68-59 Tuesday night.

Despite the weather and no students, the announced crowd was 4,519. Pretty good under the circumstances.

For more on the game, and for some updated news on UW football recruiting, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and go to www.wyosports.net.