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Cowboys Stay Perfect With Win Over CSU Bakersfield, 63-49

Kari Eakins, Townsquare Media

Three Cowboys scored in double figures to keep the Wyoming men’s basketball team undefeated with a 63-49 win over CSU Bakersfield on Saturday in Laramie. UW is off to a 6-0 start for the first time since the 1987-88 season.

Leonard Washington led the way with 13 points and 8 rebounds for UW, while Riley Grabau and Luke Martinez scored 11 points apiece. Derek Cooke, Jr. added 9 points and 6 rebounds and Nathan Sobey had 7 points.

Up by eight points, the Cowboys built the lead to double figures early in the second half on a jumper by Washington and a lay-up by Cooke, Jr. Then, despite ragged play at times, they were never really threatened by CSU Bakersfield after that. Wyoming held the Roadrunners to 27.5 percent (11-40) shooting from the field and a season-low in total points (49). They made only five 3-pointers. CSU Bakersfield came in averaging better than seven made 3′s per game.

Washington said, “I think our guys did a great job. Coming into this game, it was a team that shot a lot of 3′s, and I think we took the 3 out of the game for these guys. I feel like it kinda frustrated them.”

UW extended the lead on a pair of Martinez free throws to 22 points, at 57-35, with 4:40 left and cruised from there.

The defense has certainly stepped up in the last two games after Head Coach Larry Shyatt said he felt they had to improve on the end they could control. Shyatt said, “I thought if there was a message sent, not by the coaches, but by our basketball family, it’s that this is the only way we can really survive with this many inexperienced players. I thought they made a concerted effort to do a better job guarding the ball and even better effort blocking out on the glass.”

Wyoming shot 45.9 percent (17-37) from the floor. They were 5-14 (35.7%) from deep and went 24-35 (68.6%) at the foul line. They out-rebounded the Roadrunners 31-28 and forced 18 CSU Bakersfield turnovers.

Martinez and Grabau got the Cowboys off to a quick start with back-to-back 3′s.  Another 3 by Martinez and a one by Derrious Gilmore helped UW to a 14-4 advantage five minutes into the game. The Pokes couldn’t quite find the offensive rhythm after that. Also, the Roadrunners never went away. It was 31-23 at halftime.

The Pokes return to action on the road Wednesday night at UC-Santa Barbara against the Gauchos. The game will start at 8 pm, Mountain time. You can listen to Cowboy basketball on Y95 Country with coverage beginning at 7:30 pm.

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