Forward Larry Nance Jr. scored 19 points on 9 of 10 shooting to lead the Wyoming Cowboys past the Nevada Wolf Pack 85-81 in the opening round game of the Mountain West tournament. Wyoming was looking to pull away in this game as they lead by 11 points with 8:50 left, but Nevada mounted a comeback.
Nevada went on a 13-5 run to make it a three-point game, and during that run the Wolf Pack connected on three shots beyond the arc, two were by Malik Story. The Wolf Pack kept the game close and were able to make it a one-point game with 2:11 left.
At the 1:19 mark with Wyoming up two Deonte Burton who turned the ball over, and that was a key play in the game. Assistant coach David Carter talked about the following sequence of plays:
"I thought Deonte threw an ill-advised pass to Burris, we wanted to set an on ball screen, only down two. We wanted him to keep the ball, get in the lane and score, make something happen. I think after that our guys got a little down because that went from 2 to 5 real quick. I think the next two times we really just was careless with the ball."
After that poos set up possessions Wyoming took control of the game by going on a 7-0 run and that pretty much sealed the game for the Cowboys to get the four-point win.
Despite Nevada getting 27 points from Burton and 20 by Story, but it was not enough to keep pace with the balanced scoring attack of Wyoming which had four players in double figures, shooting 57.8 percent from the field including 7 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Wyoming also goot a boost from Leonard Washington back in the lineup, Washington has been bothered by a back injury that caused him to be limited at the tail end of the season. Washington put up 18 points and grabbed five rebounds, but he is still not completely back:
"I still wouldn't say I'm back to myself. But it did feel good to get out and help my team out tonight with a victory.
I played as hard as I could, as long as I could. I think it helped everyone else."
Nance also mentioned in the post game press conference that he was glad to have Washington back in the lineup:
"It's great. I mean, to have him out for the period of time where he was, I mean, you can't take our leading scorer, leading rebounder out and expect us to be right at the same level we were with him out. It's really nice to have him back and have me healthy. I mean, I think you saw tonight what we can do."
Nevada's Story discussed how their drought in the second half was the reason why they were unable to keep up with Wyoming:
"I think we missed a couple easy ones. Then they had a couple contested. We didn't knock down a couple shots in the beginning. In the game you might have a drought. That's all, we had a drought for seven minutes. We picked it up, but it just wasn't enough."
With this win, Wyoming moves on to play top seeded New Mexico at 9:30 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.