Leonard Washington posted his fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and that led the Wyoming Cowboys to a 56-40 victory over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Friday night at the Arena-Auditorium. Washington scored the first 8 points of the second half, and UW used a 20-4 run to break open a 6-point game midway through the second half.

The win moved the Cowboys to 12-0 on the season and allowed them to match the best start in program history. The 1950-51 team set the standard. Wyoming is also the only undefeated team in the nation that is not ranked.

Head Coach Larry Shyatt said, "I told them now you've got yourself a record you're part of, but I said is anybody here satisfied, cause you have an older, greedy coach, and I don't think they felt that they were satisfied. Who knows what's next."

Washington almost single-handedly pushed the Pokes to victory. He scored the first 8 points of the second half. In fact, he scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and took a charge in the first 10 minutes of the second half. That was in response to the Gauchos taking their first lead of the game at 25-24 just over a minute into the second period.

"The focus was to turn our defense up," said Washington. "After letting them get that lay-up, it bothered us going into halftime. We just wanted to come out aggressively on defense, and I guess it just sparked our offense. I just got it going a little bit."

The Cowboys led 35-39 with 13:38 left in the game, when they clamped down defensively and allowed only a pair of free throws and a field goal during an eight minute stretch. After baskets by Larry Nance, Jr. and Washington, Derrious Gilmore hit a 3-pointer followed by two more from Luke Martinez. That made it 48-33 with 8:01 remaining, and the Pokes continued on their run until the Gaucho's Sam Beeler hit a jumper with 4:13 left. UW scored only one point after that, but UCSB never threatened.

Luke Martinez also scored in double figures with 14 points and had 4 steals. Wyoming shot only 39.6 percent (19-48) from the field, went 5-23 (21.7%) from 3-point range and were 13-22 (59.1%) at the line. The difference was defense. UW held the Gauchos to 15-43 (34.9%) on field goals, which included a 1-13 (7.7%) performance from deep.

UC Santa Barbara (4-7) was led by Alan Williams with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyle Boswell added 13 points off the bench. Gillette-native Taran Brown had only 4 points, 3 rebounds and went 2-9 from the field.

UW started with an 8-2 spurt and seemed to gain control right away, but tough shooting the rest of the half kept the Gauchos around. UCSB scored the final six points of the first half and trailed only 24-23 at the break. Wyoming hit only 9-25 shots (36%) from the field and were a measly 1-of-12 (8.3%) from deep. Even their free throw shooting was a paltry 45.5 percent (5-11). The Cowboys entered the game at a 77.8 percent clip at the stripe.

Shyatt also said, "There can't be a coach right now prouder of his staff, his managers and his team. They're in concert together, they care, so I tell you that's how I feel about this group."

The Cowboys will now enjoy a holiday break for five days before returning to practice on December 27th. Their next game is next year, on January 2, 2013 at SMU. You can listen to that game on Y95 Country. Coverage will start at 5:30 pm.