LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The series between the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team and New Mexico has been as close as close can be recently, but for the most part the ball has bounced the way of the Lobos (10-7, 3-1 MW) in four-straight overtime contests. The Cowboys (9-9, 2-3 MW) will face a tough task reversing those fortunes in The Pit, though, a place Wyoming has lost 12-straight contests in the building since 2003. Saturday’s 2 p.m. MT tip will also be the end of a long haul for the Pokes, as Wyoming plays its sixth road game in its last eight contests.
The contest will be televised by CBS Sports Network (Charter: 634, DirecTV: 221) and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats and audio of the contest through the gameday central page on GoWYO.com.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt, a former Lobo assistant, and Wyoming are tied for sixth in the Mountain West standings at 9-9 overall and 2-3 in league play. Against the Spartans, the Cowboys fought from behind most of the night, but would manage to cut the lead to just one three times in the final six minutes. That would be as close as Wyoming would get, though, as missed shots and turnovers kept the Cowboys from taking the lead. Two free throws with 2:25 left was UW’s final one-point deficit, before SJSU made six-straight free throws down the stretch to ice the game. Wyoming suffered through one of its poorest shooting nights of the season by hitting 35 percent (17-of-48) from the field, 27 percent (6-of-22) from deep and 68 percent (15-of-22) at the free-throw line. The Cowboys’ 55 points tied a season low, as did their six made threes. UW’s 22 rebounds were also a season low, as the Spartans grabbed 39 for a plus-17 rebounding margin. SJSU hit 46 percent (23-of-50) from the field and 30 percent (7-of-23) beyond the arc. Wyoming had 10 less turnovers, 22-12, and seven less fouls, 25-18, though. On the season, Wyoming averages 69.3 points on 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. The Cowboys’ 8.9 threes per game rank second in the MW and 39th in the NCAA, while their 36 percent from deep is second in the conference. Their 74 percent at the free-throw line leads the league and is 31st in the nation. Defensively, Wyoming allows 69.2 points on 42 and 32 percent, respectively. The Cowboys limit opponents to 32 percent beyond the arc for third in the MW and 76th in the NCAA. Wyoming’s 17.5 fouls per game are second in the conference and 52nd nationally.
Third-year head coach Craig Neal has the Lobos back on track again, as New Mexico enters the weekend third in the conference at 10-7 overall and 3-1 in league play. The Lobos opened the MW season with a 3-0 mark, before falling at UNLV, 86-74, last Tuesday. The Rebels opened up the second half on a 9-4 run, putting them up by 13 points for the first time in the game. The Lobos would go down by as much as 22, but kept fighting down the stretch to cut the deficit to 12 points with 3:49 remaining. The Rebels fended off the road team with a quick 6-1 run, putting them out of reach with less than three minutes remaining. Both the Lobos and the Rebels shot an even 40 percent on the evening. New Mexico shot 24-for-60 while UNLV shot 26-for-65. The Lobos hit 46 percent (6-for-13) from deep, while the Rebels made 23 percent (7-for-30). New Mexico won the rebounding battle, 43-39. There were 61 combined free throw attempts, with the Lobos shooting 20-for-28 and the Rebels shooting 27-for-33. Overall, New Mexico scores 77.2 points per game by hitting 47 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. The Lobos’ field-goal percentage leads the conference and is 57th in the nation. Defensively, UNM allows 72.5 points on 42 percent and 30 percent, respectively, as its three-point defense ranks first in the MW and 23rd nationally. The Lobos own a plus 3.9 rebounding margin, but a league-worst minus 2.2 turnover margin.
Each Team’s Leaders
Sophomore forward Alan Herndon had a team-high 14 points versus the Spartans, as he went a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, including 2-of-2 from deep, and 4-of-4 at the charity stripe. Herndon averages 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on the season. Junior guard Jason McManamen contributed 13 points against SJSU, including three threes, as he now has 10 triples over the last three games. He averages 12.3 points, as his team-best 42 percent from deep and 2.4 triples per game are both third in the MW. Senior guard Josh Adams had a season-low 10 points at San Jose State, but still averages 23.9 per game for first in the MW and sixth in the NCAA. His 44 percent from the field and 37 percent beyond the arc are both seventh in the league, while his 2.7 threes per game lead the league and rank 67th in the NCAA. He also paces in the Pokes at 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, as he is one of four players in the nation to average 22 points, five rebounds and three assists. Sophomore guards Alexander Aka Gorski and Jeremy Lieberman also got the starting nod against the Spartans. In last week’s two games, Aka Gorski adds 5.6 points and 1.9 rebounds, while Lieberman contributes 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds.
Redshirt sophomore guard Elijah Brown posted his first double-double as a Lobo with 24 points and a career-high 10 rebounds versus UNLV. He averages a team-high 19.6 points per game, good for second in the MW and 38th in the NCAA. His 2.4 threes per game are fourth in the conference. Fellow redshirt sophomore guard Cullen Neal added 14 points and three assists against the Rebels. Neal scores 14.5 per game and dishes out a team-best 4.4 assists, which rank second in the MW. Redshirt junior forward Tim Williams is UNM’s other double-figure scorer at 16.0 per game to go with a team-high 7.3 rebounds. He is sixth in the league on the boards, while his 58 percent from the field is first in the MW and 32nd nationally. Junior center Obij Aget adds 7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-best 1.5 blocks per game, while sophomore forward Sam Logwood rounds out UNM’s probable starters at 6.2 points and 3.9 boards. The Lobos have used the same starting lineup for all 17 games this season.
About the Series
The Pokes are 65-67 all-time against the Lobos, including 23-41 in Albuquerque, but recent meetings have mostly gone New Mexico’s way. Wyoming is 1-9 in their last 10 meetings with the Lobos and hasn’t won in the Pit since 2003, a string of 12-straight losses. The last four meetings between the two program have gone to overtime, though, including most recently a 52-49 New Mexico home win on March 7, 2015.
Wyoming hosts Nevada on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.