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Martinez scores career-high 25 points for UW vs. Denver

Dec 19, 2012 - The Associated Press

Luke Martinez didn't say a word about it.

But if the University of Wyoming senior guard had redemption on his mind after last year's game against Denver, he certainly showed it.

Martinez scored a career 25 points, and made 5 of 6 3-pointers, and UW shot a season-high 64.7 percent from the field in a 71-61 win over Denver in front of 4,519 Tuesday night at the Arena-Auditorium.

UW improved to 11-0, its best start since the 1987-88 season. It can match its best start in school history Friday at home against UC-Santa Barbara.

Sophomore forward Larry Nance also had a career-high with 21 points. He was 11 of 11 from the free-throw line, and UW was 19 of 21 from the line in the game.

"Those were important points, and they break runs," UW coach Larry Shyatt said of the free throws. "It's amazing to me how no one talks about or magnifies the significance of making free throws."

This was UW's third game where it shot 90 percent or better from the line this season.

It is the first time two UW players have scored 20 or more points in a game since Marcus Bailey of Cheyenne and Donta Richardson each scored 21 points on Nov 27, 2002 against College of Charleston.

Those offensive numbers helped UW overcome a season-high 17 turnovers, and the fact Denver (3-6) shot 53.5 percent from the field and was 6 of 13 from 3-point range.

"This was a really physical game with toughness and competiveness," said Shyatt, whose team never trailed.

"I think this game is going to show up really strong at the end of the season. I see that as one of the best ball clubs we've played."

Despite the high shooting percentage for Denver, it made only 2 of 6 3-pointers in the second half, and both makes came in the first minute of the half.

"I would give us a C," said Martinez on UW's defense, which came in allowing 55.3 points and 38 percent shooting. "We can defend better."

UW's offense deserves an A for its efficiency.

All the points came from the starters, and all five shot better than 50 percent from the field. Sixteen of the 22 baskets were assisted, and the Cowboys made better than 50 percent from 3-point range (8 of 12) for the first time this season.

Martinez was 9 of 12 from the field.

He also moved into sole possession of 10th place on UW's career 3-pointers made list with 114. Senior point guard Derrious Gilmore had 12 points, including two 3-pointers.

"For us to be successful, we had to make sure Gilmore and Martinez did not hit critical 3s, so you have to give them credit for making those shots," Denver coach Joe Scott said.

"Our defense let our offense down."

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