LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Last-second shots to win a game have provided some of the most thrilling and memorable finishes in college basketball.
Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt, though, preferred the way it ended for his team Saturday in a 68-66 upset of
UNLV (No. 13 ESPN/USA, No. 11 AP): with a defensive stand."If it had to end in our favor, I'm really happy the way it ended because we didn't make a magnificent shot," Shyatt said. "We missed our last two or three attempts, but we dug in a got some stops."Leonard Washington and Francisco Cruz scored 16 points apiece and Wyoming throttled UNLV's high-scoring offense, limiting the Runnin' Rebels to 49 percent shooting from the field.UNLV had two chances to tie the game in the last 22 seconds but missed a layup and a long jumper as time ran out.Luke Martinez had 15 points -- all on 3-pointers -- and Adam Waddell scored 14 for Wyoming (18-5, 4-3 Mountain West). The win snapped a four-game losing streak against UNLV (21-4, 5-2) and was Wyoming's first victory against a top 25 team since beating No. 24 Utah in 2000."We got good people on this team and good things happen to good people, and I really believe that, and it feels good to finally have some success," senior guard JayDee Luster said.Quintrell Thomas led UNLV with 15 points. Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield contributed 12 apiece.But UNLV, which entered the game averaging 80.6 points a game, had a difficult time running its fast-break offense."We just had to sort of ... hold the fort down those first six to eight seconds (of UNLV's possession)," Shyatt said.In addition, the Cowboys limited UNLV to 3 of 14 shooting from 3-point range.UNLV had two chances after Martinez missed a long 3-point attempt for Wyoming with 22 seconds left, but the Runnin' Rebels missed both attempts -- one a layup attempt by Marshall, the other by Moser on a long jumper -- snapping their five-game winning streak."I got to the rim. I had a chance at it, I just didn't connect," Marshall lamented afterward. "I felt like I didn't step up. ... I felt like that's on me."Wyoming built a 42-36 halftime lead behind a balanced scoring attack that saw four players -- led by Martinez' 12 -- scoring in double figures. The Cowboys held UNLV's two leading scorers -- Mike Moser and Chace Stanback -- to just 2 points apiece before the break. Both Moser and Stanback entered the game averaging over 14 points a game, but neither scored until the last 3 minutes of the half. Moser finished the game with 11 points, and Stanback failed to score in the second half."I couldn't make a shot," said a frustrated Moser, who was 4 of 12 from the floor. "I didn't know what was going on. I still don't."The Runnin' Rebels rallied to take a 53-52 lead on a bank shot by Reggie Smith.After the teams traded baskets, the Cowboys went on an 8-0 run sparked by two buckets from Washington to go ahead 62-55 with 6:45 left.Luster sank a 3-pointer -- his only shot from the field for the game -- at the 5:43 mark to put Wyoming ahead 67-59.Shyatt said he had no reservations about Luster taking the long shot.UNLV pulled to 67-64 on five unanswered points by Marshall with 1:38 remaining.Luster sank a free throw before Thomas scored with 52 seconds left to pull UNLV within 2 points. Wyoming milked the shot clock down before Martinez missed his 3-point attempt, setting up the final defensive stand by Wyoming.UNLV coach Dave Rice did not call a time out on the Runnin' Rebels' final possession."As good as Wyoming is with their set defense I thought it was better for us to go ahead, and we got two very good looks," Rice said.