*Courtesy University of Wyoming Athletics Media and Public Relations
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Feb. 5, 2014) – For the second time this season the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team took New Mexico to overtime and for the second time the Lobos came away with a narrow victory. UNM (18-4, 9-1 MW) went 7-of-9 at the free throw line in the extra frame and held UW (14-8, 5-4 MW) to 1-of-6 from the field for a 66-61 overtime win on Wednesday night in front of 15,077 fans in The Pit.
Neither team led by more than four in regulation, as the Lobos used four free throws to go ahead 63-59 with 2:35 left in overtime. Redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. made a layup with 39 seconds remaining to pull the Pokes within two, but the Lobos made two free throws with 19 seconds left and UW missed a three to let the Lobos escape with the victory. The game featured 23 lead changes and nine ties.
Junior guard Riley Grabau paced the Pokes with 12 points on four treys for his 13th game in double figures this season. He has hit 11 of his last 16 three-point attempts over the last three games. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr., senior guard Nathan Sobey and Hankerson each contributed 10 points. Nance added four blocks, three steals and two assists, while Sobey had five assists. Hankerson notched a career-high six assists in his first career start for Wyoming.
Wyoming shot 44 percent (24-of-54) from the field and 36 percent (7-of-19) from deep, while UNM hit 42 percent (23-of-54) and 10 percent (1-of-10), respectively. One three was a season low for a Cowboy opponent, but the Lobos led 43-22 in rebounds for a 17-2 margin in second-chance points. Wyoming earned a 16-10 advantage in assists and 8-4 in assists.
It was a back-and-forth first half as neither team led by more than three points with four ties and 13 lead changes. The 13 lead changes tied a season high for Wyoming. The Pokes held the lead most of the final four minutes, before the Lobos converted free throws into a 4-0 run to end the half up 28-27. Wyoming got contributions from all areas, as seven Cowboys scored. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. led the way with seven points, while Nance added six points, three blocks and two steals. No Poke had more than two rebounds in the first half.
Wyoming shot 46 percent (11-of-24) in the first half compared to 42 percent (10-of-24) for New Mexico. Both teams connected on just on three, as the Pokes went 1-of-5 and the Lobos hit 1-of-6. UNM earned a 22-9 advantage in rebounds, but committed eight turnovers to five for the Pokes. Wyoming led 5-2 in steals and 7-4 in assists through the first half.
The Pokes quickly retook the lead out of halftime, as layups from Sobey sandwiched a trey from Grabau. UW kept the advantage through the first five minutes, before the Lobos battled back to take a lead of their own midway through the half. The Cowboys stayed in the game with the long ball, as treys from Granberry, Hankerson and Grabau proved to be UW’s last four baskets of regulation. Wyoming shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from the field in the second half and 60 percent (6-of-10) from deep.
The Cowboys continue play on the road at UNLV on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT in the Thomas & Mack Center.