Wyoming loses leading scorer Larry Nance Jr. to a right knee injury

Jeff Eisenberg

If favorites San Diego State and New Mexico were to stumble during the Mountain West tournament next month, one of the dark horses capable of taking advantage appeared to be Wyoming.

Patient on offense, stingy on defense and disciplined enough not to surrender transition opportunities, the Cowboys have taken the Lobos to overtime twice, handed the Aztecs their lone league loss and gone 8-2 against the rest of the league.

The chances of Wyoming making a deep conference tournament run took a hit Tuesday night, however, when the Cowboys' leading scorer and rebounder suffered a potentially serious knee injury early in the second half of a victory over Fresno State. Larry Nance Jr., the son of the longtime Cleveland Cavaliers forward, had to be helped off the court by the team's trainer and guard Nathan Sobey as fans chanted "Larry, Larry, Larry."

According to a report from ESPN.com, an MRI taken Wednesday morning showed that Nance has a torn ACL. The school has yet to confirm that news, but it wouldn't be at all surprising considering coach Larry Shyatt told beat writer Robert Gagliardi after Tuesday's game, "I don't think it looks good."

Wyoming already was prone to long scoring dry spells, so a season-ending injury to Nance would only further diminish the Cowboys offense.

Nance, a 6-foot-8 junior, averaged 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks and shot 54.4 percent from the field, career highs in all four categories. He already had 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting when he suffered the injury with 15 minutes remaining in the second half on Tuesday night.