No. 15 New Mexico Tops Wyoming, 59-46

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Tony Snell scored 15 points and No. 15 New Mexico led from start to finish, beating Wyoming 59-46 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Cameron Bairstow added 14 and eight rebounds for top-seeded New Mexico (27-5), which will play either Boise State or San Diego State in the semifinals Friday.

Derrious Gilmore hit four 3-pointers and had 14 points, and Larry Nance Jr. also scored 14 for No. 8 seed Wyoming (19-13). Josh Adams added 12 points for the Cowboys.

New Mexico led 34-24 at halftime before Wyoming opened the second half on a 9-2 run, but the Cowboys came no closer.

Wyoming held Kendall Williams, the conference player of the year, to six points but the Lobos' reserves picked up the slack, outscoring the Cowboys' bench 12-0.

Even though the Lobos did not have a field goal for the first 10:23 of the second half, the Cowboys could not take advantage, pulling no closer than three after their run.

Wyoming's Leonard Washington and Nance Jr. both played with foul trouble, Washington picking up his fourth with 14:50 left in the game, and Nance Jr. with 11:59 remaining.

New Mexico kept extending the advantage throughout the second half and had its largest lead at 59-44 lead with 1:15 to go. The Lobos were strong at the free throw line, converting 21 of 29, while the Cowboys made only eight of their 13 shots from the line.

The Lobos swept the regular season series, including a 53-42 win in Albuquerque on March 2.

Both teams were coming off losses. The Lobos lost at Air Force in the final seconds, 89-88, last Saturday, and the Cowboys came in riding a five-game skid.

All five Lobos starters made all-conference teams. Williams was a first-team selection, Alex Kirk a second-team and Snell a third-teamer, while Bairstow and Hugh Greenwood earned honorable mentions. Lobos coach Steve Alford was named conference's coach of the year.

New Mexico hit eight of its first ten shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, and all five free throws in the first nine-plus minutes, giving the Lobos a 25-15 lead. The Lobos' largest lead of the first half was 11 with 6:37 left until the break.

But the Cowboys defense tightened and New Mexico made only 4 of 17 from the field the rest of the half.

This was only the second time the teams met in the Mountain West tournament. Wyoming upset then-No. 3 seed New Mexico in the 2009 quarterfinal round.