Feb. 11, 2012
Albuquerque, N.M. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team held New Mexico to a season-low 19 points in the first half, but Lobos outscored the Cowboys by 14 in the second half to earn a come-from-behind 48-38 win on Saturday afternoon in The Pit. UW (18-6, 4-4) dropped its first game of the season after earning a halftime lead, as UNM (20-4, 6-2) limited the Cowboys to four points over the final six minutes of the Mountain West contest.
After trailing 23-19 at halftime, the Lobos opened the second half with a 15-4 run to gain control of the game. Wyoming hung tough through the middle minutes and redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington pulled UW within two at 36-34 with 6:05 left, but New Mexico crafted a 12-4 run down the stretch to seal the victory.
Senior guard Francisco Cruz led the Cowboys with 14 points, including a 4-of-5 showing from beyond the arc, while redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez and senior center Adam Waddell both added nine points. Washington grabbed 12 rebounds and senior guard JayDee Luster added five assists.
It was a defensive battle throughout the game, as Wyoming shot a season-low 25 percent (14-of-54) from the field, and hit 31 percent (5-of-16) beyond the arc and 62 percent (5-of-8) at the free throw line. UNM didn't shoot great either, connecting on 39 percent (16-of-41) in the field, 27 percent (3-of-11) from deep and 56 percent (13-of-23) at the charity stripe. UNM earned a 43-31 advantage in rebounds, but committed 17 turnovers to 11 for UW. Wyoming's 38 points were a season low, while New Mexico's 48 points were its second-lowest offensive output this season. The Cowboys dropped to 13-1 this season when leading at halftime.
Just to Wyoming's liking it was a defensive battle through the first half, as the Cowboys controlled the speed of play in the first 20 minutes. Cruz notched eight of UW's first 10 points, starting the game 3-of-4 from the field, and Martinez added a dunk to silence the crowd and give UW a 10-4 advantage six minutes in. After five early turnovers, New Mexico started to find its rhythm, but treys from Martinez and Cruz kept the Cowboys in front, 16-11, with 7:18 left in the first half.
UNM clawed back to take its first lead of the game, 17-16, at the 5:13 mark and went up by three, but Wyoming closed the first half on a 7-0 run over the final three minutes to go into halftime up 23-19. UW shot just 29 percent (8-of-27) in the first half, but limited the Lobos to a season-low 19 points. UNM shot 34 percent (8-of-23), but hit just one trey (1-of-7) and committed nine turnovers to five for UW. The Cowboys earned a 12-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
It was the Lobos that started the second half hot, as Wyoming committed three turnovers early in the half. Waddell hit a jumper to push the advantage to four at 25-21, but New Mexico crafted an 8-0 run over the next five minutes to go ahead 29-25. Washington broke the run with a layup midway through the half to pull Wyoming back within two, but the Lobos once again earned a quick five points to extend the lead to 34-27.
Cruz broke UNM's second run with a three, Martinez notched two free throws and Washington added a layup to draw the Cowboys within two at 36-34 with six minutes left, but that would be as close as UW would come. Wyoming wouldn't find the basket again until there were 26 seconds left, as the Lobos outscored the Cowboys 12-4 down the stretch. UW shot just 22 percent (6-of-27) in the second half and hit one three (1-of-7).
Wyoming continues the Mountain West season by hosting Air Force at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the Arena-Auditorium.