Antino Jackson scored a team-high 20 points and forward Joe Furstinger added a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds as the University of New Mexico Lobos defeated the Wyoming Cowboys 75-66 at DreamStyle Arena on Wednesday night.
Jackson’s 20 points were a career-high at UNM for the senior from Houston, Texas, beating his previous high of 19 points against Omaha on November 14th.
Freshman Makuach Maluach continued his recent streak of solid performances with a second-consecutive game of at least 15 points on five of nine shooting from the floor and one of three from behind the arc.
Junior guard Justin James carried the Cowboys offensively with 31 points on 11 of 18 shooting from the floor. It was the seventh time this season in which James topped 20 points in a game and his second 30-plus point performance in his last three games.
Although the Cowboys shot an impressive 49% from the floor for the game and 54% in the second half, the Lobos did an excellent job defensively against leading scorer Hayden Dalton. The senior forward from Parker, Colorado managed to score just 10 points before fouling out with 54 seconds left in the game.
After a back and forth first half, the Cowboys entered the break up 32 to 27 after Dalton tipped in a missed layup by forward Alan Herndon.
Jackson would hit consecutive three-point baskets after the break to give the Lobos a 33-32 lead with 18:10 remaining in the half. The Lobos would not relinquish the lead in the second half, as it took Wyoming nearly four minutes to score their first points of the period when Herndon made a dunk with 16:19 left to play.
Dalton would bring the Cowboys to within six points on his final basket of the game with just over a minute to play, but that would be the closest Wyoming would get as the Lobos made clutch shots and free throws down the stretch.
Despite coming out on the wrong side of the box score, the Cowboys outshot the Lobos 49% to 46% from the floor and 83% to 76% from the free throw line, and Wyoming dominated points in the paint 42 to 24.
The difference in the game came down to the Lobos outshooting the Cowboys from downtown and UNM enjoying a sizable advantage in free throws made and attempted (19 of 25). The Lobos also finished with a plus-11 rebound margin, including a plus-6 advantage in offensive boards.
With the win, the Lobos move to 8-10 overall and 3-2 in Mountain West Conference play. Paul Weir’s squad will hit the road in search of their first road win next Wednesday against UNLV at the Thomas and Mack Center.
The Cowboys fall to 11-6 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Wyoming will look to get back on track against the Colorado State Rams at home on Saturday before taking to the road to take on Utah State on January 20th.