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January 26, 2013Senior forward Leonard Washington posted 19 points and nine rebounds for the University of Wyoming men's basketball team, but the Pokes lost a 57-48 game to Air Force on Saturday night in the Arena-Auditorium.
After trailing all game, the Cowboys (15-4, 2-4 MW) cut the lead to five with two minutes left, but the Falcons (12-6, 3-2 MW) wouldn't allow another UW point from there.
"This was a typical Mountain West game this year," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We didn't get off to a good start -- down 8-0. We've been challenged over our last several games because we've been shooting a poor percentage from three, and that puts a lot of pressure on the rest of our offense. I don't think guys are taking bad shots, but we're just not making them."
Washington went 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-5 at the free throw line for his 19 points, while adding three blocks and a steal. He has scored in double figures in 16 of UW's 19 games this season.
Senior guard Derrious Gilmore added 15 points, four assists and two steals, while sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. had six points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau added four assists and no turnovers.
"These guys refuse to give up, even when we are shooting poorly from three," Shyatt said. "To hold a team to 57 points, as we did tonight, should be good enough to win a lot of games, but we just don't have enough answers on offense. That's on me. I take full responsibility. I need to try and find better ways to score and put the ball in the hole."
Wyoming struggled shooting all night, hitting 33 percent (17-of-51) from the field and just 17 percent (5-of-28) beyond the arc, while Air Force connected on 43 percent (18-of-41) and 33 percent (5-of-15), respectively.
UW's 28 three-point attempts were a season high. The Falcons earned a 33-25 advantage on the boards and 7-5 in steals. Both teams had 11 assists.
Air Force jumped on the Pokes with a quick 8-0 run and held the advantage throughout the first half.
Washington posted five-straight points and Nance added a jam through the middle minutes to pull Wyoming within one at 17-16, but the Falcons stretched the lead back to seven.
Washington responded with three-straight buckets for the Pokes, but Air Force still took a 29-25 lead into halftime.
The Pokes shot 38 percent (10-of-26) from the field in the first half and made just one three (1-of-12), while Air Force connected on 52 percent (10-of-19) and 44 percent (4-of-9), respectively. AF earned a 15-11 advantage in rebounds, but committed seven turnovers to just four for Wyoming. Both teams had six assists.
The Falcons stretched the advantage to 11 at 38-27 through the first five minutes of the second half. Gilmore and junior guard Nathan Sobey hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to five at 38-33.
Air Force kept the lead around that same margin through the middle minutes, until a 7-0 spurt pushed it to 11 at 51-40 with 4:28 to go.
Washington and Gilmore combined for UW's next eight points to pull Wyoming within five at 53-48, but that would be as close as the Cowboys could get. Gilmore scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
Wyoming continues its season by hosting #15/17 New Mexico on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Double A.