Cowboy Freshmen Key in 62-59 Win at New Mexico State

Dec. 13, 2015

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

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Senior guard Josh Adams posted a game-high 22 points to pace the University of Wyoming men's basketball team to a 62-59 win at New Mexico State on Sunday night. It was two freshmen, though, that helped the Cowboys (6-4) hand the Aggies (5-4) jut their sixth loss in the Pan American Center since the start of the 2012-13 season.

"It was a terrific win," UW head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Any win on the road is big. In this building in the last five years [New Mexico State]'s losses are New Mexico, New Mexico, New Mexico, Colorado State and UTEP, so I thought our guys were terrific from start to finish."

The Pokes outscored NMSU 26-9 through the first nine minutes of the second half to build a 15-point lead at 48-33. The Aggies would respond with a 20-6 run of their own to tie the game at 53 with 1:54 left. Adams broke the tie and added a layup, before freshman Jordan Naughton nailed two free throws, his first attempts of the season, with 14 seconds left to push the lead back to five. Adams did the same with six seconds to go to ice the game.

"With this new team we've put together it's different guys on different nights," Shyatt said. "I'm really happy for a couple of our guys. I know that Trey [Washington III] and Alexander [Aka Gorski] and Jeremy [Lieberman] have had their days and they will continue to have their days, but it was nice to see Justin [James] and Jordan [Naughton] get in the action and really make a difference."

Naughton finished with career highs of eight points and four rebounds in 21 minutes, while fellow freshman Justin James had his best night as a Poke too. The first-year guard notched a career-high 13 points in a career-high 30 minutes. The Pokes were a team-best plus eight in scoring with both of the freshmen on the floor. James also became the first freshman to start for Wyoming since Adams did so on March 25, 2013.

The game looked to be a showdown between Adams and NMSU's Pascal Siakam who entered the game tied for fifth in the NCAA at 24.9 points per game. Adams notched his seventh 20-point effort of the season and was part of a Cowboy defense that held Siakam to 14 points. Junior guard Jason McManamen scored 15 points, including three threes, while Adams had a team-high five rebounds.

Wyoming shot 45 percent (21-of-47) from the field and 44 percent (7-of-16) beyond the arc, while holding the Aggies to 35 percent (21-of-60) and 14 percent (2-of-14), respectively. The Pokes were outrebounded 45-27, but had two less turnovers and four less fouls.

Both teams grinded out the first half, as neither could build a lead of more than four points. Wyoming shot 43 percent (9-of-21) from the field and 38 percent (3-of-8) from deep to 32 and 22 percent, respectively, for New Mexico State. The Aggies outrebounded the Pokes 22-14, including 8-0 on the offensive glass. Both teams had nine turnovers in a first half that featured six lead changes. McManamen had eight points in the opening half, while Adams had seven and Naughton six.

Wyoming returns to play in the Global Sports Classic by hosting Omaha on Saturday at noon MT in the Arena-Auditorium.