New Mexico edges Wyoming in overtime 52-49
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) On senior night, New Mexico coach Craig Neal felt pretty confident that his four-year-starting guard Hugh Greenwood would play a pivotal role in Saturday's regular-season finale against Wyoming.
''I didn't think Hugh would let us lose,'' Neal said. ''I had had that feeling all week. I thought he would will us to win . and he did.''
Greenwood stuffed the stat box with 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists, helping New Mexico end an eight-game losing streak, 52-49, its longest in 56 years.
Obij Ajet and Devon Williams led New Mexico (15-15, 7-11 Mountain West) with 14 points apiece while Larry Nance Jr. had 18 and Riley Grabau 15 for Wyoming (22-9, 11-7).
Offensively, it wasn't the prettiest of games as the teams forced each other to grind through its offensive schemes.
''This was two teams that went toe-to-toe defensively,'' Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. ''There wasn't much going on offensively because both teams played tough defense.''
That gritty defense was something Neal has been waiting to reappear for some time.
''We got back to playing the defense we are very capable of playing, the type of defense we were playing earlier in the year,'' he said. ''I thought that we were terrific defensively.''
Particularly in the first half, both teams struggled to get clean looks at the basket, with Wyoming going 6-for-24 and New Mexico 8-for-26 from the field.
The Lobos fell behind 9-2 early while shooting 1-for-11 before Hugh Greenwood hit a couple of jumpers. That ignited a 10-2 Lobos run to lead 12-11 as Wyoming was going 1-10 from the field.
New Mexico opened up the second half with an 11-3 run, capped by a Greenwood steal and fast-break 3-pointer to take a 28-17 lead with 13:43 left.
Sparked by two 3-pointers from Grabau, the Cowboys' 10-0 run tied it at 32-32 with nine minutes to go.
The game was tied an additional three times over the final four minutes of regulation.
Grabau got a good look at a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but drew iron and bounced out to send the game into overtime.
When Ajet banked in a layup and Williams put back a missed 3-pointer to start overtime.
New Mexico went up 50-44 with 38.8 second left in overtime, but two foul shots and a Nance 3-pointer brought the Cowboys within 50-49 with 15.8 seconds left.
But Nance missed a 3 with two seconds left that would have put Wyoming in the lead.
The win halted New Mexico's losing skid at eight, which was its longest since a 17-game skid that began in the 1958-59 season and continued three games into the 1959-60 season.
''I thought after getting down 13 (actually 11), I was really proud of the effort, we out-energized them and put ourselves in position to a have a chance at a game-winning shot by Riley at the end of regulation and by Larry Nance to hit a go-ahead 3-point in overtime,'' Shyatt said.
New Mexico: Senior Deshawn Delaney, who leads the team in scoring but fractured his hand Thursday in practice, started and Wyoming allowed the Lobos to get the tip, which went right to Delaney. The Lobos called time out and Delaney exited to a standing ovation.
Wyoming: The 11 conference wins is the most it's had since 2001-02.
Lobos walk-on point guard Tim Jacobs, at 6-foot the smallest man on the floor, led all players with nine boards.
New Mexico: Wednesday against a Mountain West Tournament opening-round opponent to be determined. Wyoming: Thursday, against a tournament quarterfinal opponent to be determined.