ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- It was hardly a game for the highlight reels, but the New Mexico Lobos will take a sluggish, sloppy 53-42 victory over the visiting Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday afternoon. The No. 14-ranked Lobos (25-4, 12-2) clinched at least a share of the Mountain West title. They will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament by virtue of having swept second-place Colorado State this season. Wyoming (18-11, 4-11) dictated the slow pace of the game, but the Cowboys ran out of bullets in the second half. Derek Cooke failed to convert a three-point play with about 10 minutes left, leaving Wyoming trailing 36-33. The game then went to free throws as New Mexico pushed its advantage to 41-33, all from the line. Cooke got a point back for the Cowboys -- on their first free throw attempt of the night -- with six minutes to go. After a timeout, Tony Snell nailed a 3-pointer that put the Lobos up 44-34, an almost insurmountable lead considering Wyoming's shooting woes (16-for-57). New Mexico only shot 35.7 percent (15-for-42) from the floor, but the Lobos were 21-for-27 from the free throw line versus just 3-for-7 for the Cowboys. New Mexico's inside duo of Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow again came up big, with Kirk totaling 15 points and nine rebounds while Bairstow added 13 points and nine rebounds. Riley Grabau made four 3-pointers en route to 14 total points to lead Wyoming. The first half was an often ugly slog as the Cowboys did their best to slow down the Lobos. New Mexico held a 25-19 lead despite shooting 33 percent (8-for-24), including just 1-for-7 on 3-pointers. Grabau kept Wyoming alive in the first half, going 3-for-6 from 3-point range. His second 3 gave the Cowboys their only lead at 13-12. Cleveland Thomas then made four straight free throws to put the Lobos back ahead 16-13. Grabau tied it up again with his final 3 of the half, only to see Snell hit back-to-back jumpers. Greenwood made one of two free throws to extend the advantage to 21-16, but Derrious Gilmore countered with a 3-pointer. The first half ended with a long jumper by Snell and an impressive final play when Williams stole the ball with two seconds left and unleashed a thunderous dunk. Kirk led the Lobos with seven points. Wyoming shot just 25.9 percent (7-for-27) and never went to the free throw line. The Cowboys were whistled for nine fouls compared to just three for the Lobos. NOTES: The Lobos and Cowboys entered the game with identical 38-23 records against each other on their respective home courts. Wyoming does have a 3-1 advantage on neutral courts to lead the overall series 64-62. ... New Mexico seniors Jamal Fenton and Chad Adams have played in more victories, 104, than any other two players in Lobos history.
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