Colorado may want to stay away from Wyoming for a while, at least on the basketball court.
The No. 19 Buffaloes dropped their sixth straight against the Cowboys dating back to 1997, losing 76-69 on Saturday night.
Colorado had its poorest shooting game of the season and committed a season-high 17 turnovers against a stingy Wyoming defense.
”When you’re not taking care of the ball on offense and not guarding on defense, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said.
Leonard Washington scored 22 points and Larry Nance Jr. added 14 as Wyoming (8-0) used a stingy defense to beat a ranked opponent at home for the eighth time in 13 games since the 1995-96 season. Luke Martinez added 13 points, while Josh Adams and Derrious Gilmore each scored 12.
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.
”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.
Meantime, Colorado couldn’t match Wyoming defensive effort.
”We didn’t play defense. Plain and simple,” said Dinwiddie, who hit 8 of 14 shots from the field and had four assists.
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.
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,” 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.”