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Defense carries Pokes to win over Spartans

Feb 17, 2014 - From staff reports

Junior guard Riley Grabau posted 18 and added a career-high nine rebounds, but it was another historic defensive effort that gave the University of Wyoming men's basketball team a 46-38 win over San Jose State on Saturday afternoon at The Event Center. The Cowboys tied their own Mountain West record by allowing just nine points in the second half and allowed their fewest points ever in MW play.

"In 40 years of coaching, I've never been part of a team that played harder or smarter on the defensive end in the second half," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We got to every possible loose ball in the second half. It wasn't always pretty, but they did a great job of eliminating Larry Nance Jr. from our offense. We knew it was going to be a grind-it-out type of game."

The Pokes (16-9, 7-5 MW) trailed 29-26 at halftime, but started the second half with a 7-0 run to go up by three. Wyoming would allow the Spartans (6-19, 0-13 MW) just four field goals, including one three, from there to slowly take the victory. SJSU kept the game within two possessions most of the second half, but managed just 28 percent (13-of-46) from the field for the game, a season low for a UW opponent, and only 20 percent (4-of-20) in the second half. The Spartans managed just six of 25 three-point attempts, including one past halftime. Grabau's free throw with just over a minute left put the Pokes up eight, their largest lead of the game, and iced the contest.

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