Busy day for UW, MW on New Year’s Eve

In the span of about 30 minutes Monday — the final day of 2012 — two big stories broke.

The Mountain West announced Boise State was staying, and scheduled a teleconference at 1:30 p.m., about 15 minutes after the release was sent.

Then, Wyoming announced that senior guard Luke Martinez was out indefinitely with a broken bone in his right hand. That’s UW’s second-leading scorer (14.5 ppg) and team leader in 3-pointers made (35), 3-point shooting percentage (42.2), free-throw percentage (86.1) and steals (2.08 per game). Those last four things I listed are top three in the MW.

It’s fair to say that 2012 went out with a bang.

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Washington a spark for Cowboys

Wyoming senior forward Leonard Washington scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the second half in the Cowboys’ 56-40 win against UC-Santa Barbara Friday night in Laramie.

He scored eight straight points to start the second half, and also had a big blocked shot and drew a change at a key time.

“Leonard has a strong personality, and he’s a volatile, passionate guy,” coach Larry Shyatt said. “He wears it, and those who do that translate it to the people him. Sometimes that is a blessing and sometimes it is not. But our team responds to Leonard’s aggressiveness. There’s not question he tipped the scale and got the rest of us in gear.”

Washington also had 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season and 11th in his career.

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UW-UC Santa Barbara postgame notes

Trivia question: Who is the only undefeated team in the country that  is not ranked in the top 25?

Yep, your Wyoming Cowboys.

UW improved to 12-0 with a 56-40 win over UC-Santa Barbara  Friday night in Laramie for its 22nd consecutive non-conference home win dating back to 2010. Good defense throughout. Cold shooting in the first half before senior forward Leonard Washington took over.

Washington was a beast. He scored UW’s first eight points of the second half, and 10 of the first 15. He posted his fifth double-double of the season and 11th of his career with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

“I thought Washington was sensational in the second half,” UCSB coach Bob Williams said. “We wanted to  keep our best guy on him (sophomore forward Alan Williams). They did the cross-screen action, and and our guys got tired, we just didn’t get through screens. We didn’t fight very well.”

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UW-UC-Santa Barbara pregame notes

Tonight is the final nonconference home game for the Wyoming men’s basketball team, and while UW tries to tie its best start in school history at 12-0, there is another impressive winning streak on the line.

In his third season, coach Larry Shyatt is 36-5 at the Arena-Auditorium and 26-1 in nonconference games. All 26 of those wins were in regular season games. The lone loss was a 69-55 loss to Gonzaga in the first round of the NIT to end the 1998 season.

Shyatt is 51-21 as UW’s coach, and 121-105 in his eighth season as a head coach.

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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.

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UW-Denver pregame notes

The Wyoming men’s basketball team (10-0) plays its first game in 10 days when it hosts Denver (3-5) at 7 tonight at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Here are a few tidbits about the game:

–UW has outscored teams 391-270 in the second half this season, and went on impressive second-half runs in its last two games. At Illinois State it ended the game on a 36-7 run over the last 12:20 to win 81-67. Against Division II Oklahoma Panhandle State, the Cowboys outscored the Aggies 25-6 over the final 10:50.

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