The win, combined with a loss by second place
at Boise State Saturday night give the Lobos the outright MWC
title with two games remaining in the season. Along with the
title, rings and
commemorative t-shirts and hats UNM players and coaches got
comes the No. 1 seed at the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.
March 12. New Mexico now stands at 25-4, 12-2 in the MWC.
The win did not come easily as Wyoming (18-22,
tough defense and slow down offense, turning the game into a
slugfest from the
get-go. But UNM got another big game from big men Alex Kirk and
and a lift from the 15.141 in The Pit to outdistance the Cowboys
in the game’s
final nine minutes.
Asked about his team’s “ugly” win, UNM coach
“It’s never an ugly win,” he said in the
conference, net slung around his neck and a smile on his face.
“The play may be
ugly, but the win is always beautiful.”
Kirk scored a game-high 15 points and nine
Bairstow added 14 points and nine rebounds. No other Lobo cored in
figures but junior Kendall Williams added seven points and six
assists and the
UNM defense held Wyoming to just 28% shooting for the game, 16 of
and 7 of 24 (29%) on three pointers.
New Mexico vastly outshot the Cowboys on free
well, making 21 of 27 (77%) while Wyoming made just 3 of 7 (28%)
“I felt like I was watching the movie
‘Hoosiers’ with no
shot clock with the game being at that tempo, but that’s what they
do,” said Alford. “We’ve seen all kinds of different styles this
season and that’s
what’s so special about this team is that they’ve been able to
find ways to
The Lobos came out playing fast tempo
basketball and took a
5-0 lead early but could have extended the lead much more without
a few misses.
Wyoming took advantage and surged back after finding its shooting
the game 5-5 with 14:46 left in the first half on a Larry Nance,
Wyoming would take its only lead of the game
later, 13-12, on a Riley Grabau three-pointer. But Cleveland
hit a pair of free throws three minutes later to get the lead back
The Lobos increased the lead to 21-16 on a made free throw by Hugh Greenwood
with just over two minutes left in the half.
But Wyoming responded with a three pointer by Derrious Gilmore on
possession to cut the UNM lead to 21-19.
Tony Snell hit a jumper on the way back to
Lobos lead then Williams poked the ball away from Gilmore on the
final play of
the half, then streaked in with the steal for a slam dunk to give
New Mexico a
25-19 halftime lead.
The two teams battled for the first 10 minutes
of the second
half and Wyoming cut the Lobo lead to 36-33 with 10:39. But UNM
a 10-1 run punctuated by a Tony Snell trey followed by a Williams
gave the Lobos a 46-34 lead with 4:21 left in the game.
Grabau was the only Cowboy to finish in double
14 points. Nance, Jr. led all players.
The Cowboys cut the lead back to nine twice in
minutes but got no closer.
Lobos senior Chad Adams, who did not score but
two rebounds and was stellar on defense in his 11 minutes of play
the game was “a typical game for (the Lobos.)”
“We come out and we like to throw punches, if
you know what
I mean,” he said. “We like to battle and this year we have come
out with a W. I
wouldn’t say it is much of a change.”
Fellow senior Fenton, who scored two points,
rebounds and had two assists against Wyoming said the “the sky's
the limit” for
the Lobos as they head into the post-season.
“My freshman year, we went 30-5 - that was a
team,” said Fenton. “I think this team, as a senior, we have
than that team my freshman year. So I think we'll do well and go
far and deep
in the (NCAA) tournament.”