LARAMIE, Wyo. – Riley Grabau scored 17 points, Larry Nance Jr. added 14 and Wyoming knocked off the fifth-ranked San Diego State men’s team 68-62 on Tuesday night.
San Diego State had won its previous 20 games.
Both teams had 22 field goals, but the Aztecs (21-2 overall, 10-2 Mountain West Conference) took 58 shots and Wyoming took 38.
Wyoming (15-9, 6-5) reeled off two 12-3 runs in the first half, using three three-pointers from Grabau to keep momentum on its side.
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The Cowboys were outrebounded 22-11 in the first half, as the Aztecs crashed the glass and relentlessly ripped the ball away from their undersized opponents. But the turnover battle seemed to balance the scales, as a ferocious Wyoming 2-3 zone defense batted away passes and forced 10 San Diego State first-half turnovers.
The Cowboys’ momentum carried into the second half, as Larry Shyatt’s team forced stops on one end and piled up highlight-reel scores on the other.
Nance lobbed a ball toward the right side of the basket, where 6-foot-8 forward Derek Cooke Jr. hammered it home with his right hand. The crowd roared, but no one was louder than Nance, who shouted as he backpedaled from the scene.
At one point, four consecutive Cowboys baskets came on dunks.
Wyoming, listed as a three-point underdog, beat a top-five team at home for the first time since a 62-56 decision over Utah 16 years ago.
Dwayne Polee II led San Diego State with 15 points and Xavier Thames scored 13.
No. 3 Florida prevails
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Florida’s smothering defense returned to form just in time for the third-ranked Gators to keep their winning streak going.
After falling behind in the first half because of Tennessee’s strong shooting, the Gators stepped up their defense down the stretch and won 67-58 for their 16th consecutive victory.
Florida beat the Volunteers in Knoxville for the second time in its last nine attempts.
Florida had allowed opponents to shoot a mere 38.4 percent in its first 22 games of the season before Alabama shot 55 percent in a 78-69 loss to the Gators on Saturday. Tennessee shot 62.5 percent in the first half Tuesday, but the Volunteers made 29.2 percent (7 of 24) of their attempts after halftime.
Florida coach Billy Donovan noted his team pressed more in the second half.
Scottie Wilbekin had 21 points and six assists for Florida (22-2, 11-0 Southeastern).
Jarnell Stokes had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee (15-9, 6-5).
No. 4 Wichita St. wins
WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State got some advice from Emmy Award winner Kirstie Alley.
“She said to the guys, ‘Don’t read the reviews, the positive ones and the negative ones. Just play the game,’ ” coach Gregg Marshall said after a 78-67 victory over Southern Illinois that improved the No. 4 Shockers’ record to 26-0.
“So you’re getting it from a Hollywood star.”
Behind 19 points from Ron Baker and 18 from Cleanthony Early, the Shockers (13-0 Missouri Valley) managed to put Southern Illinois away, becoming the first team since Memphis in 2008 to start 26-0.
Guard Anthony Beane scored 25 points for the Salukis (10-16, 6-7), getting to the rim at will until late in the game.