Nov 15, 2012 - The Associated PressWhat looked like an easy win turned out to be difficult for the University of Wyoming men's basketball team.
But the Cowboys overcame a long shooting drought from 3-point range, and clamped down defensively in the second half for a 73-60 win over North Carolina Central in their first game of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase before 4,463 at the Arena-Auditorium Wednesday night.
UW (2-0) started the game on a 10-2 run and led by as many as 15 points midway through the first half.
A Luke Martinez 3-pointer gave the Cowboys a 36-22 lead with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in the half. However, UW missed its next seven 3s. North Carolina Central outscored UW 14-2 the rest of the half and trailed just 38-36 at the break.
"We got happy up 15 too early," coach Larry Shyatt said.
North Carolina Central (1-2) took a three-point just over two minutes into the second half, and UW's streak of consecutive missed 3-pointers grew to 11.
"We took a few bad shots and it carried over to the defensive end," Martinez said.
"We fell apart for just a little bit. We need to be better with taking better shot selection."
The run that enabled UW to regain the lead -- and keep it -- was sparked by a pair of true freshmen.
Forward Austin Haldorson came off the bench and made a layup with 14:30 to play to give UW a 46-45 lead. Those were his first points for the Cowboys.
Guard Josh Adams broke the 3-point shooting drought with one that clanked off the rim but went through the basket. He later added two free throws.
Martinez added a 3 and senior forward Leonard Washington converted a three-point play that gave the Cowboys a 57-45 lead with 10:54 to play.
UW led by as many as 14 from there on out, and North Carolina Central got no closer than seven.
The Cowboys shot 55.6 percent from the field in the second half, and 50 percent for the game.
"I was in the flow of what our team was doing and we hit some shots for the team," said Adams of his and Haldorson's contributions during the run. "We don't have that run if all five of us aren't playing well on defense."
UW's defense also played better in the second half. The Eagles shot only 26.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range in the second half. They also were outrebounded 34-23.
"I thought the Wyoming team we saw in the second half was the team we've seen in practice," Shyatt said.
This after North Carolina Central shot 57.9 percent in the first half and 57.1 percent from 3-point range.
"Wyoming was tough and we weren't," Eagles coach LeVelle Moton said. "When you give up layups and open 3-pointers, they deserved to win and we didn't. We weren't tough enough and I take responsibility for that. We were pathetic."
Martinez scored a team-high 20 ints -- three off his career-high. Washington added 17 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh-career double-double.
Washington also had a career-high four assists.
Senior point guard Derrious Gilmore had 10 points and sophomore forward Larry Nance had a career-high 13 rebounds to go with five points. Senior guard Ray Willis had 20 points for North Carolina Central.
UW plays South Dakota (0-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday during the second day of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase.
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