Nance Leads The Cowboys Rising Past Rebels, 76-71
Larry Nance Jr. scored 29 points to lead the Wyoming Cowboys to a 76-71 victory over the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the Mountain West opener for both Wednesday.
This was the Cowboys first victory to begin conference play since the 2006-2007 season.
Wyoming (12-2, 1-0) knocked down nine of their last 11 free throws over the final five minutes to clinch the win. Riley Grabau went 6-6 at the line during that stretch.
UW head coach Larry Shyatt said, "It was an odd game for us. We've been an easy team to read... it is usually a low-scoring game when we play, but that's not what we had tonight."
Both teams shot the ball well. The Pokes were 54 percent from the field, while the Rebels hit at 55 percent.
UNLV (9-4, 0-1) came out firing behind Christian Wood. He scored their first 19 points and helped the Rebels to a 37-33 lead at halftime.
The Cowboys responded with a 12-2 run to begin the second half. UW held that lead until four minutes left. After UNLV took a brief lead on Patrick McCaw's lay-up, Wyoming regained the lead on free throws from Nance and Grabau. A corner three by Josh Adams with 1:44 left put UW in front 69-64, and they held on to stay unbeaten at home this season.
Derek Cooke Jr. scored 14 points, while Grabau and Adams added 12 and 10, respectively. The Pokes scored a season-high 23 points off 13 UNLV turnovers. Wyoming also finished with 17 assists.
Wood led the Rebels with 29 points. Rashad Vaughn added 16.
The Cowboys go on the road for their next two games in the Mountain West. First up is a trip to California Saturday night to face San Jose State. Game time is set for 8 p.m.