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New Mexico survives scare in Wyoming to defeat Cowboys

The SportsXchange

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- For much of the night, New Mexico relied on its interior play to set the tone against Wyoming. But in the final seconds, the Lobos relied on its outside game to secure the win

Sophomore guard Hugh Greenwood hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line to break a tie with 7.1 seconds and lift the Lobos to a 63-59 win over the Cowboys at the Arena-Auditorium on Wednesday night.

"Hugh Greenwood has made big shot after big shot," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. "He's had games where he's not made anything and yet in the last five minutes he'll come up with the big shot or the big free throw. Today, I thought he was good throughout."

Wyoming tied the game at 59 on a Riley Grabau 3-pointer with less than 30 ticks remaining but Greenwood's shot allowed the 20th-ranked Lobos (18-3 overall, 5-1 MWC) to retake the lead. A turnover by the Cowboys on the ensuing possession forced the team to foul, sending Greenwood to the line for a pair of free throws. He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, the only double-double of the game.

The Lobos dominated the paint with a 35-23 rebounding advantage while outscoring the Cowboys 28-12 inside. Wyoming made 20 total baskets but only eight were inside the arc.

"It was hard to get some looks on their defense, I mean they're a pretty good team," Grabau said.

New Mexico big men Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk did most of the damage inside.

Alford gave Bairstow the start, his first since the team's Jan. 12 game against Fresno State. The 6-foot-9 junior didn't disappoint by scoring a career-high 17 points. Kirk, UNM's 7-foot sophomore center chipped in 10 points as the Lobos had their way with the Cowboys down low.

"I think it's great, the versatility. We have ability to throw that out," Greenwood said of the bigger lineup. "We've got guys that can contribute, whatever lineup we throw out there we're pretty confident."

Wyoming (15-5, 2-5) finished the game 12 of 22 from 3-point range but made only four shots from beyond the arc in the second half. Derrious Gilmore led the way for the Cowboys with 15 points, all of which came on 3-pointers.

Grabau hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Wyoming a 28-27 lead at halftime.

Grabau's desperation heave from the left side came after the Cowboys struggled to get into an offensive set with one final possession. Teammate Derek Cooke Jr. was guarded tightly near the top the key before finding Grabau for a kick-out to salvage the possession. The shot capped a big first half from long range for Wyoming, which went 7 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.

While the deep shots fell, the Cowboys struggled to score everywhere else on the court.

"Their interior defense, they're very long -- 7-feet, 6-9 -- and they walled up really well with their hands up and we just didn't finish inside," Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said.

New Mexico responded to an early Wyoming lead with a 12-0 run and stayed ahead until a 3-pointer by Josh Adams tied the score with about five minutes to play.

The Lobos struggled from long range, going just 1 of 4 in the first half. Greenwood hit New Mexico's only 3-pointer, which answered the shot by Adams to tie the game.

The Lobos built their lead thanks to a 19-10 rebounding edge and a 14-4 advantage on points in the paint.

NOTES: Coming into the game, Wyoming was 2-0 against ranked teams this season. The Cowboys beat No. 19 Colorado 76-69 on Dec. 1 and No. 15 San Diego State 58-45 on Jan. 19. Both wins came at home. ... The seven 3-pointers made by Wyoming in the first half constituted a season high. ... New Mexico's Bairstow came into the game averaging 7.6 points and 19.6 minutes per game. ... For Greenwood, the 13-point, 10-rebound double-double was his first of the season. His previous rebounding high was nine against Indiana State. It was his sixth game with double-figure scoring.
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