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January 22, 2014

Wyoming comebacks to beat Air Force

Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. posted 20 points and redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. rolled in a layup with 19 seconds left to give the University of Wyoming men's basketball team a come-from-behind 66-59 victory over Air Force on Wednesday night in Clune Arena.

The Cowboys (12-6, 3-2 MW) trailed by 15 points in the first half, before taking a lead with just over three minutes left in the game and holding on to overcome their largest deficit this season.

Behind the instruction of assistant coach Allen Edwards, who served as interim head coach due to Larry Shyatt being ill, the Pokes hung tough in the second half and crafted an 11-2 run with just under four minutes left to take a 56-54 lead. The Falcons (9-9, 3-4 MW) responded with a three to retake the lead, but it would be their last field goal of the game.

The Cowboys got six consecutive points from Nance, before Hankerson's shot to take a 64-59 lead with 19 seconds left. AF had two three attempts to cut the deficit, but sophomore guard Josh Adams pulled down a rebound and hit two free throws with four seconds left to ice the game.

Nance finished just one rebound shy of his third-straight double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. He notched his fourth 20-point effort of the season and added three blocks and two steals.

Adams contributed 17 points for his seventh double-figure point total in UW's last eight games, while senior guard Nathan Sobey posted his fourth-consecutive game with double figures at 10 points.

Wyoming shot 50 percent (20-of-40) from the field for its ninth game this season at 50 percent or better, but hit just 3 of its 12 three-point attempts for 25 percent from deep. The Pokes connected on 92 percent (23-of-25) from the free throw line for their second-straight game over 90 percent at the charity stripe.

UW's 22 rebounds were a season low, but it earned a 22-6 advantage in points off turnovers and committed just nine turnovers to 16 for the Falcons. Air Force hit 44 percent (21-of-47) from the field and 39 percent (9-of-23) from deep. AF's 23 three attempts were the second most against UW this season.

The Cowboys and Falcons went back-and-forth through the first 10 minutes, as Adams started the game with a three-point play and Nance had several baskets in the paint. Air Force took control of the game with 15-1 run over five minutes that put it ahead 30-15.

The Pokes responded with a 13-5 run to end the half and go into halftime down 35-28. Adams broke AF's run with a layup and slammed a dunk, before free throws from Sobey and Nance. Nance added a dunk and redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry hit a three to cap the spurt.

Wyoming hit 40 percent (9-of-22) from the field in the first half, but just one of its seven three-point attempts, while allowing 50 percent (12-of-24) and 39 percent (5-of-13), respectively, to Air Force. The Pokes were outrebounded 16-10, but committed five turnovers to seven for the Falcons.

Wyoming continues its season by hosting Nevada on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.





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