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Aug 7, 2012 11:41 PM by Q2 Sports

Nance Jr. leads Cowboys in Canadian opener

Calgary, Alberta - Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. scored 17 points and senior guard Luke Martinez added 16 to guide the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a dominant 79-50 win over the University of Calgary on Tuesday night in the opening game of the 2012 Battle of the Border. The Cowboys ripped off a 23-4 run to start the game and lead by as much as 37 in the third quarter, while 11 of UW's 12 players to see action scored.

"You probably couldn't ask for a better first three quarters in our first game with this team," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We were quick to the ball and played with effort and connectedness, but we didn't shoot particularly well in the second half and that affected our defense."

Nance had the most impressive performance of the night, going 6-of-11 from the field, 2-of-3 from deep and 3-of-4 at the free throw line. He added four rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 19 minutes. Martinez went 5-of-10 from the field, including one three pointer, and a perfect 5-of-5 at the charity strip. Freshman forward Derek Cooke Jr. finished just short of a double-double with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds to go with three steals. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau had team highs in assists and steals with three each in 21 minutes of action.

"Larry [Nance Jr.] played well at both ends of the floor tonight," Shyatt said. "We ran in six-man groups every 10 minutes so everybody would get the same amount of playing time. We got to the floor and gave up our body while playing unselfishly on offense, so it was everything you could ask for in an international exhibition game."

The Cowboys connected on 38 percent (29-of-77) from the field and 21 percent (6-of-28) beyond the arc, while holding the Dinos to 32 percent (17-of-54) and 20 percent (3-of-15). UW hit 79 percent (15-of-19) of its free throws to 52 percent (11-of-21) for Calgary. The Dinos earned a 49-42 advantage in rebounds, but committed 25 turnovers to just 11 for the Cowboys.

Playing under FIBA international rules, Wyoming finished the first 10-minute quarter up 25-10 thanks to 11 points in the opening frame from Nance. UW's second six-man group extended the lead to 20 with three minutes left in the first half after a trey from freshman guard Josh Adams, while a free throw from sophomore guard Jack Bentz sent the Cowboys into halftime up 45-22. The Wyoming starters returned in the third quarter to push the advantage to 37 at 63-26 and UW coasted from there.

Wyoming continues play at the Battle of the Border against Mount Royal University at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow night we'll focus a little more on defensive rebounding, because we gave up too many offensive rebounds tonight," Shyatt said. "Offensively we need to loosen up a little more. We played unselfish tonight, but just didn't shoot particularly well."

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