Wyoming relies on stout defense to upset No. 19 Colorado

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- After his best scoring effort of the season, Leonard Washington chose to focus on Wyoming's defense.

Washington scored 22 points and Larry Nance Jr. added 14 to help the Cowboys beat No. 19 Colorado 76-69 Saturday night.

Wyoming's aggressive and swarming defense held the Buffaloes to 41-percent shooting (24 for 58) and seven points below their season scoring average.

"I think we just tried to come out and have a defensive mindset tonight," said Washington, who took three charging fouls and blocked three shots. "Since day one we've always prided ourselves on defense and we'd like to continue that the rest of the season."

Luke Martinez had 13 points, while Josh Adams and Derrious Gilmore each scored 12 as Wyoming (8-0) beat a ranked opponent at home for the eighth time in 13 games since the 1995-96 season. It also was the Cowboys' sixth straight victory over the Buffaloes.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points and Andre Roberson had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Colorado (6-1), which was off to its best start since 1989-90.

"I thought our defense was terrific," Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. "I thought in the heart of the game when passion and will was going to be expected, I thought our guys really did a great job, not only defending but getting some key defensive rebounds."

Askia Booker, Colorado's leading scorer at 16.8 points a game coming in, finished with six points. Josh Scott, who was averaging 14.5, had five.

Wyoming shot 48 percent (24 for 50) from the field and had their highest scoring total of the season.

Both teams had trouble scoring in the first half, with Colorado leading 28-26 at halftime as Roberson and Dinwiddie scored seven points each. Washington kept Wyoming close with 11 points and two blocked shots.

Despite leading the team in scoring in the first half, Washington said he wasn't happy with his performance.

"I wanted to come out the second half and not worry about that, and play hard defensively to try to keep them from scoring," he said. "That was my focus coming into the second half, to play well on defense."

The Cowboys began the second half with a 12-6 run to go up 38-34 on Nance's 3-pointer with 15:10 remaining.

Wyoming didn't trail again as it continually answered any charge by the Buffaloes and eventually built a 12-point lead -- the largest of the game -- when Washington converted a three-point-play with 2:26 remaining to put the Cowboys ahead 64-52.

Colorado lost three starters, including Roberson, to fouls in the final minutes, while Wyoming hit enough free throws to hold the Buffaloes off.

The Cowboys made 21 of 33 free throws, while Colorado was 12 of 15.

"They shot 52 percent from the field in the second half, and we turned the ball over 17 times," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why we lost this game. I'm disappointed in our execution in the second half."

Adams, who entered the game averaging 3.8 points, shot 3 for 6 on 3s.