Anyone who has followed this match up over the last couple of seasons knew that this was going to be a hard-fought game. The last four games went into overtime, and this one looked like it might be heading in the same direction, but alas, Wyoming was able to handle business in regulation.
The hero for the Cowboys was none other than Josh Adams, who poured in a career-high 38 points. That's more than half of his team's points and the second leading scorer, Jason McManamen added ten. Great work by Adams, who was coming off two consecutive sub-par performances. Today though he was making it rain so much I thought that both teams would need umbrellas. He hit seven threes and his 11/12 from the free throw line were clutch: he iced the game with two free throws with seven seconds left.
The Lobos were looking to rebound after losing to a UNLV team in disarray and it certainly seemed like a game at the Pit would help them to gather their composure. Unfortunately, that was not the case. They came out slow, falling behind by seven (22-15) early on. They did take a one point lead into half time and even held a 46-40 lead in the second half, but the Cowboys battled back. Twelve points in a row coupled with a 22-7 run gave Wyoming a 62-53 lead near the midway point of the second half and put the Lobos in peril.
Looking at the box score, one might think that the UNM should've won this game. They out-rebounded Wyoming 39-27. They outscored them in the paint 42-12. They even had a balanced attack: Tim Williams led the way with 17 points and 9 rebounds, but three other Lobos - Xavier Adams, Cullen Neal, and Elijah Brown - all scored 13 points. Big man Obij Aget chipped in 11. So how did the Cowboys win? The three point game.
Wyoming was 12/31 from beyond the arc, good for 39%. New Mexico was only 1-7. For those keeping track that's a 33 point difference. Those threes, in conjunction with a turnover by Neal with the Lobos down two and 25 seconds to go, were the difference makers. It also didn't help that Brown played low minutes due to breaking the team's curfew after the UNLV game.
Wyoming will take on Nevada on 1/20. New Mexico heads to San Jose State for their next match up on 1/23.