UNM Basketball: Lobos take on Utah State in MWC tournament semis

The No. 3 seed University of New Mexico men’s basketball team took care of business on Thursday in the second round of the Mountain West Conference tournament, defeating the No. 6 seed Wyoming Cowboys 85-75 in Las Vegas.

Joe Furstinger led all scorers with 23 points on eight of 13 shooting while posting a game-high nine rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Three Lobos scored in double figures, including guard Troy Simons, who made all but one shot from the floor and both attempts from behind the arc.

It was the sixth-straight victory for Paul Weir’s squad and the fifth time in their last six games in which the high-scoring Lobos scored at least 85 points.

Lady Luck struck earlier in the day for New Mexico when Utah State, the No. 7 seed upset No. 2 Boise State to advance to the semi-finals. Boise State finished second overall in MWC regular season play and defeated the Lobos in each of the two matchups this year. Conversely, Utah State and New Mexico split their season series, with the home team winning each game on their home floor.

The Aggies are led by a pair of sharp-shooting guards in Sam Merrill and Koby McEwen. The latter scored a career-high 31 points against the Lobos in Logan, Utah back on January 31st. McEwen made 10 of 15 shots in that game, including six three-point baskets, while playing the entire 40 minutes of action.

Merrill starred in Utah State’s upset win yesterday over the Broncos, scoring a game-high 28 points on eight of 15 shooting. The sophomore guard from Toronto, Ontario made a clutch three-point basket to put the Aggies up by four with 31 seconds left on the clock. Containing the duo of McEwen and Merrill will be a primary focus for Weir and the Lobos, as the two guards have proved more than once this season that they are capable of taking over games.

Tipoff is set for 8:30 MT, with television coverage provided by CBS Sports Network. The winner of the game will take on the victor of the other semi-final matchup between the Nevada Wolf Pack and San Diego State Aztecs.