Wyoming 78, Denver 72

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -- When the offense is struggling, it helps to
crank up the defense, and get a lift from the bench.

Those ingredients helped Wyoming during a seven-minute
game-changing stretch midway through the second half in a 78-72 win
over Denver on Tuesday, snapping a two-game skid.

Denver, which led 36-34 at the half after shooting 48 percent,
was held to 31 percent after intermission.

"Justin Williams had a little something to do with that,"
Wyoming coach Steve McClain said. "He really came in and gave us a
lift, and just played hard."

Williams, shaking off a sore knee, had two of his eight blocked
shots and led a crash to the boards during the Cowboys' 21-6 roll
that erased an eight-point deficit.

The Pokes (7-5) also found their range from the arc, with Jerry
Webb and Jay Straight each sinking a pair of 3-pointers during the
spurt, which turned a 54-46 Denver lead into a 67-60 Wyoming

Straight's layup tied it at 58, then his second 3-pointer put
the Cowboys ahead for good at the 8:30 mark.

The senior guard finished with a team-high 21 points, including
11 during the critical stretch.

Alex Dunn added 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots
for Wyoming, while Webb led a strong effort by the reserves with
11. Wyoming's bench outscored Denver's 23-6.

"Maybe we're starting to understand the point of 'Don't sit on
the bench and pout because you're not playing," McClain said.
"Be ready to go in and play when you get the opportunity."

Yemi Nicholson led the Pioneers, who led 18-8 early, with 22
points, while Erik Benzel and Antonio Porch added 14 each and
Rodney Billups 12.

The Cowboys improved to 43-5 in nonconference games at the
Arena-Auditorium under McClain, and 75-15 in home games.

Wyoming shot 64 percent in the second half to finish at 51
percent for the game. Denver (5-6) wound up at 40 percent.

The Cowboys won the rebound battle 42-33, although Nicholson had
a game-high 13, and UW had 14 blocks to the Pioneers' four.

Wyoming opens Mountain West Conference play at New Mexico on