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Wyoming eases past Arkansas State 85-64

Nov 18, 2013 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- Josh Adams celebrated his 20th birthday with a career-high 20 points and Wyoming shot 56 percent from the field to defeat Arkansas State 85-64 on Saturday.

Larry Nance Jr. had 18 points and six rebounds and Riley Grabau added 16 points for the Cowboys (2-1), who shot 64 percent in the first half (16 of 25). Derek Cooke Jr. had eight points and 10 rebounds for Wyoming.

Melvin Johnson III led Arkansas State (2-1) with 22 points and six rebounds and Kirk Van Slyke added 13 points. The Red Wolves struggled all day from the floor, finishing at 36 percent.

Adams, who was 8 of 11 shooting, scored 11 points in the first nine minutes to stake Wyoming to a 26-13 lead. His dazzling behind-the-back pass set up Cooke's layup just before the break to put the Cowboys up 56-32. Adams had a career-high 6 assists.

"I play on the most unselfish team in the country in my opinion," Adams said. "Probably half my points came off of other guys giving me the ball, so I've got to give all the credit to my teammates today, just finding me, and I do what I can for the team."

Adams sank a 3-pointer on the game's first possession and finished with three dunks, including one on a lob from Nathan Sobey to boost the lead to 73-50.

One play in particular symbolized the Cowboys' selfless play. With just over seven minutes remaining, Wyoming's Jerron Granberry stripped Cameron Golden of the ball, then threw a long pass to Charles Hankerson Jr. streaking the other way. But Hankerson, with no defender in his path, gave up a sure dunk by dishing to Sobey for a layup to put Wyoming up 83-55, for its largest lead.

The Cowboys finished with 19 assists on 27 made field goals.

"The play that Hankerson made when he had a dead layup and he dropped it off for another dead layup for Sobey typified their unselfishness," Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. "When you don't have a go-to guy, we have to become an extra-pass ball club and I thought we made strides in that direction."

The Red Wolves scored 11 straight points early in the second period, with Johnson's driving layup trimming the margin to 58-43. Grabau then jump-started a 13-2 surge for the Cowboys with a driving layup.

He and Nance then hit back-to-back 3s, and the rout resumed.

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