The New Mexico men’s basketball team will wield its primary weapons, including center Alex Kirk and guard Hugh Greenwood, in tonight’s home game against Wyoming.
The Cowboys aren’t so lucky.
Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt and guard Josh Adams will miss the game at The Pit as the Mountain West Conference schedule enters its second-half slate.
Shyatt, a fourth-year head coach, has been dealing with a reoccurrence of a viral infection and will not make the trip. He did not coach Wyoming’s Jan. 22 game at Air Force nor Saturday’s contest in Laramie, Wyo., against Utah State.
Associate head coach Scott Duncan is set to serve as head coach against UNM. Assistant Allen Edwards coached against Air Force and assistant Jeremy Shyatt (Larry’s son) led the team against the Aggies. Both games resulted in Wyoming wins.
UNM head coach Craig Neal said in his Monday press conference that he reached out to Larry Shyatt when he first received news of his illness and has kept in contact with him since. Neal said his associate head coach, Lamont Smith, has stayed in touch with Jeremy Shyatt as well.
“Any time your head coach is out, that’s a concern, and it’s a bad situation for them,” Neal said. “But they’ve done a great job.”
On Monday, the MW suspended Wyoming’s Josh Adams for striking Utah State’s Spencer Butterfield. Adams received a flagrant 2 foul and an ejection from the game. Adams tallied 19 points and eight assists before the ejection.
After reviewing the play, the conference issued a one-game suspension. The conference said in a release it will not make any additional comments about the incident.
Adams is one of Wyoming’s top offensive scorers, averaging 12.1 points per game with a 51-percent shooting clip.
“It doesn’t change anything for us,” Neal said, referring to Adams’ absence. “It changes something for them, but it’s not going to change how we play. He’s definitely playing at a high level, had 20 and eight when the incident happened.”
Kirk, who missed two games with a lower leg injury but returned in Saturday’s blowout win against San Jose State, will play Wednesday. However, Neal said he will likely decide on Wednesday how many minutes his redshirt junior center will play. Neal limited Kirk to 19 minutes in his return Saturday.
Greenwood, meanwhile, is doing well after taking an inadvertent shot to the eye from an SJSU player. Neal said Monday there is no longer any swelling to Greenwood’s eye, there were no breaks and he will not need to wear a protective mask. Neal said the hit looked worse that it was, though he sat Greenwood the remainder of the second half.
Even with Adams out of the lineup, Wyoming has two other players averaging double-digit scores in forward Larry Nance Jr. at 16.2 points per game and guard Riley Grabau at 11 points. Grabau scored 24 points for the Cowboys in the teams’ earlier meeting, a 72-69 overtime win for UNM.
“They zoned us the whole first half last game,” Neal said. “They could come in like they did two years ago and dribble out the clock and shoot late when the shot clock limits possessions. We’ve got to continue to guard the line and guard Nance and contain Grabau.”
Bairstow named player of the week
UNM’s leading scorer, forward Cameron Bairstow, earned Mountain West Player of the Week honors for the second time this week, the conference announced Monday.
Bairstow netted 22 points in UNM’s win at Utah State and another 14 against San Jose State.
The conference previously named Bairstow its player of the week on Dec. 9.
Men’s basketball vs. Wyoming