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LARAMIE (AP) — Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt was familiar with this feeling — even if it had been a while.
Riley Grabau scored 17 points, Larry Nance Jr. had 14 and the Cowboys beat No. 5 San Diego State 68-62 on Tuesday night to end the Aztecs’ 20-game winning streak.
Shyatt was Wyoming’s coach 16 years ago — almost to the day — the last time a top-five team was upset in Arena-Auditorium. That was Feb. 12, 1998, when the Cowboys took down No. 5 Utah 62-56 on the same floor.
“It’s like a good bottle of wine — it gets better with age,” Shyatt said.
The Cowboys (15-9, 6-5 Mountain West Conference) savored another marquee win Tuesday as fans rushed the court after the final buzzer, mobbing Wyoming players.
“Their only other loss was to Arizona,” Nance said. “I mean, to be in that category is awesome, you know? Fifth-ranked team, the fans storming the court like they did, it was spectacular.”
The Aztecs (21-2, 10-1) won 20 in row after losing to Arizona in their second game of the season. The streak tied the program mark set by the 2010-11 team, which finished a school-record 34-3 after reaching the Sweet Sixteen for the first time.
“This is a tough league and you go on the road and it becomes even tougher. And with the win streak we had, I think everybody knows it and everybody talks about they want to be the team to break it and storm the court,” SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. “And to Wyoming’s credit, they were the ones. They were the ones that did it. They played better and they deserved one.”
Dwayne Polee II led San Diego State with 15 points, followed by Xavier Thames with 13.
“You’ve just got to take it as a learning experience,” said Thames, who was averaging 18.1 points. “There’s a lot of season left, so we can’t hang our heads.”
Wyoming built a 16-point lead midway through the second half, catching the Aztecs’ defense lagging several times. At one point, the Cowboys slammed down four consecutive dunks.
San Diego State mounted a furious comeback, closing within four points with 1:04 left and again with 40 seconds to go on two buckets by Winston Shepard, who finished with 10 points.
But the Aztecs, who were averaging 73.4 points, failed to score again as Wyoming pulled away with free throws in the final 30 seconds.
Nathan Sobey and Charlie Hankerson Jr. each had nine points for Wyoming, which used an efficient offense and a stifling defense to stop San Diego State.
The game featured the top two defensive teams in the Mountain West. Entering the game, San Diego State was giving up an average of 56.6 points, while the Cowboys were allowing 60.4.
But it was the Aztecs who had the most trouble making baskets, hitting 38 percent of their field goals and committing 13 turnovers while Wyoming made 58 percent of its attempts from the floor and had 11 turnovers. The Cowboys took a 32-23 halftime lead, closing out the last 4:20 of the first half with a 10-3 run keyed by two 3-pointers from Grabau.
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