Stevens: Lobos Advance in Vegas With 59-46 Win Over Wyoming

March 13, 2013

New Mexico Lobos Men's Basketball -At The Mountain West Tournament
Las Vegas, Nevada -- Thomas & Mack Center

Wednesday: 7:30 p.m. (MT) No. 1 seed New Mexico (27-5) 59, No. 8 Wyoming 46
Friday: 7 p.m. (MT) - New Mexico vs. San Diego State/Boise State winner.
Friday: 9:30 p.m. (MT) - UNLV Rebels vs. Colorado State Rams
On The Air: 770-AM KKOB/Lobo Radio Network; CBS Sports Network (DISH 158, DirecTV 613, Comcast 274)
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Story, Statistics, Quotes, LoboTV

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

In tournament format, the goal is simple - advance, baby, advance.

The New Mexico Lobos, the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Tournament and the No. 15th team in the nation, didn't get many points for beauty Wednesday night in the Las Vegas Thomas & Mack, but they did out grind Wyoming 59-46 to advance to the MW semifinals.

The Lobos went cold in the final six minutes of the first half and didn't score a field goal until the 9:37 mark of the second half when Cameron Bairstow muscled one in inside the paint and added a free throw to push UNM up 45-37.

At a UNM break at 4:50, UNM was up 50-42 and had only two field goals in the second half - the second one by Jamal Fenton and that one had to dance around the rim before falling in for UNM.

The Lobos hung in this game with defense and free throws. It was almost like the Lobos knew it was not their night when it came to shooting and leaned on the defensive pride that carried them throughout the season.

The Lobos shot 40.5 percent from the floor and held Wyoming to 32 percent shooting. UNM's big edge came at the free-throw line where the Lobos went 21-of-29. Wyoming was 8-of-13 from the stripe.

The Lobos were led in scoring by Tony Snell with 15 points and Bairstow with 14 points. UNM's 7-foot Alex Kirk got into foul trouble and played only 19 minutes. He finished with seven points and four boards.

Kendall Williams, the MW Player of the Year, made a single field goal and finished with six points and four assists. UNM had five blocks and only nine turnovers.

The Lobos advance to play the winner of the San Diego State vs. Boise State quarterfinal. On the other side of the bracket, UNLV advanced in their home gym 72-56 over Air Force and Colorado State got past Fresno State, 67-61. The Rebels and the Rams play Friday night after the UNM semifinal.

Second Half: New Mexico Lobos 25, Wyoming Cowboys 22

The Cowboys came out of the locker room down 10 and quickly cut that gap to six points. Alford burned a time out in order to wake up his Lobos. At the 15:24 mark, Wyoming was within four points at 36-32.

The Lobos got only nine minutes out of Kirk in the first half and the big Lobo played only 10 minutes in the second half.

The Lobos went cold in the final six minutes of the first half and didn't score a field goal until the 9:37 mark of the second half when Cameron Bairstow muscled one in inside the paint and added a free throw to push UNM up 45-37.

Wyoming's Washington also was playing in foul trouble, but Wyoming did not place their big Cowboy on the bench. Wyoming lost Washington at the 7:21 mark when he crashed into Chad Adams after the Lobos threw a head fake at Washington on the perimeter.

At a UNM break at 4:50, UNM was up 50-42 and had only two field goals in the second half - the second by Jamal Fenton and that one had to dance around the rim before it dropped. Obviously, the Lobos had some offensive woes to overcome, but they still held the Cowboys at bay with solid UNM defense.

The Cowboys also are known as a defensive team and pretty much held the UNM offense in check most of the second half. But the Cowboys could not convert points on their end either.

At the 3:01 mark, UNM was up 55-42 and cruised in for their 27th win.

First Half: New Mexico Lobos 34, Wyoming Cowboys 24

The Lobos started off fast, but slowed down in part because Kirk went to the bench with two fouls. Kirk played only nine minutes in the half and had four points and two boards. Snell had 11 points going 2-of-3 from long range. UNM shot 44.4 percent in the half and held Wyoming to 32 percent. UNM still won the paint battle scoring 12 inside to six for the `Pokes.

The Lobos slowly pulled away in the first half, but three 3-pointers by Gilmore kept the Cowboys reasonably close. Gilmore finished with 11 points in the half.

The Lobos went up 29-18 with 6:32 to go and Wyoming's Washington was on the bench nursing three fouls. The Cowboys decided to take a chance and Washington was inserted back into the lineup.

The Lobos eventually went into the locker room up ten points.

Coach Alford told the CBS cameras at the half that the second-half plan was to limit Nance Jr., and Washington over the final 20 minutes. Washington had two points in the first half and Nance Jr., had six points.