Jan. 8, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Junior guard Riley Grabau posted a career-high 24 points and the University of Wyoming men's basketball team took New Mexico to overtime, but the Cowboys missed their final shot with three seconds left to give the Lobos (11-3, 2-0 MW) an exciting 72-69 win on Wednesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (9-6, 0-2 MW) lost their second-straight game by a single basket and fourth game this season by less than five points.
"I thought our guys did everything they could do down seven or eight with three minutes to go to get that game back in overtime, and we had an opportunity to win it," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "We just couldn't get it done at the end, and we can never be satisfied because the name of the game is winning. I've got to say the process is unfolding. Our guys are getting better."
After trailing by as many as eight points in the second half, Wyoming crafted a 6-1 run over the final 1:30 to send the game to overtime. New Mexico quickly went up by four in the extra frame, before Grabau hit a three with 47 seconds to go to pull the Pokes within one at 70-69. The Lobos missed both free throws on their ensuing possession to give the Cowboys a chance to win with 29 seconds left, but Grabau's shot was blocked and the Lobos made two freebies. Grabau had one final chance to tie the game, but his three was short.
Grabau's night came on 5-of-11 from the field, 4-of-8 beyond the arc and a perfect 10-of-10 at the free throw line. He also added in a career-high six rebounds in a career-high 44 minutes. Senior guard Nathan Sobey contributed a season-high 16 points, while sophomore guard Josh Adams posted 12 points to score in double figures for the fourth time in the last five games. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. had a career-high six blocks in a career-high 43 minutes.
"There are a lot of guys who put their hearts out there tonight," Shyatt said. "The stats don't show that Nance, Cooke and Granberry played against two, probably [NBA] first rounders in Bairstow and Kirk, and battled tooth and nail. We ended up 31-37 on the glass. We gave up some inches and a lot of experience, but I'm proud of when our guys play like that. I'm disappointed when we can't give our loyal fans the `Ws' they deserve, but I feel that our guys are moving in the right direction."
Wyoming shot 49 percent (24-of-49) from the field and 40 percent (6-of-15) beyond the arc compared to 43 percent (27-of-62) and 38 percent (7-of-18), respectively, for New Mexico. The Lobos earned a 37-31 advantage in rebounds and 13-11 in assists. The Cowboys committed 12 turnovers to eight for the Lobos.
The squads exchanged baskets through the first five minutes, before back-to-back dunks from Adams pushed momentum to Wyoming's side. The Lobos responded with an 11-0 run to take control of the contest at 18-10 midway through the first half. New Mexico wouldn't relinquish the score the rest of the half, but the Cowboys wouldn't go away either. Two-straight baskets from Nance pulled UW within three at 24-21, before the Lobos pulled back in front by eight. Sobey and Grabau hit back-to-back threes in the final 1:20, though, to send Wyoming into halftime down 33-31.
Grabau posted eight points in the first half thanks in part to two treys, while Sobey added seven points. The Pokes shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field and 50 percent (3-of-6) from deep in the first half compared to 48 percent (14-of-29) and 33 percent (3-of-9), respectively, for New Mexico. The Pokes were outrebounded by the Lobos by just one, 14-13, but committed two more turnovers, 7-5.
The Cowboys conclude the week on Saturday at Boise State at 7 p.m. MT.