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Friday, November 28, 2014

UNM 125: Lobos buck the Cowboys

Printed January 11, 1988

The UNM basketball team, fresh from its 61-59 victory over the then No. 1 ranked Arizona Wilcats Jan. 2, continued its domination of top ranked teams with a decisive 85-72 victory over No. 5 Wyoming in the Pit last Saturday night.

The Lobos now have won 10 games in a row, including their first two Western Athletic Conference games, to up their record to 14-3 for the year. The loss drops Wyoming to 11-2 overall and 0-2 in the WAC after losing on the road to Texas-El Paso 68-62 on Friday night.

For the second time in a row the Lobos rose to the challenge of being the underdog on their home floor. UNM controlled the boards, minimized the turnovers and controlled their offense as an overflow crowd of 18,100, dressed in red and waving hooper hankies, raised the roof of the Pit.

“I told them before the game that if we could play well we could win,” UNM head coach Gary Colson said. “I don’t think we’ve had everybody cooking this year but tonight everyone was cooking.”

UNM dominated Wyoming on the boards, outrebounding the Cowboys 29-6 in the first half and 50-24 for the game.

“We just got outrebounded. They beat us down the floor and we didn’t get back on defense all night,” Wyoming head coach Benny Dees said. “We just didn’t play well. We got an old-fashioned country butt whipping.”

The game started at a fast pace, but when Wyoming center Eric Leckner slammed the ball for a 4-2 lead the crowd reacted emphatically. With the sellout crowd on its feet throughout most of the first half, the Lobos played the Cowboys almost even through the first 10 minutes with Wyoming holding a 19-17 lead with 10:48 remaining.

From there the Lobos dominated the game and when the Cowboys knew what hit them eight minutes later, UNM had chalked up 29 points to the Cowboys seven, comfortably leading 46-26. At the half, the Lobos led 48-32.

The Cowboys came out of the locker room with a bang, and had cut UNM’s lead to nine points two minutes into the half. But the Lobos held them off and were up by 16 points with 13 minutes left.

Wyoming got to within six points, 75-69 with 2:56 left but the Lobos made all their free throws down the stretch to put the game on ice.