The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team is on an upward path, after defeating Wyoming at home on Wednesday, 75-66, to mark the team’s second straight win—both of which were conference matches.
UNM (8-10, 3-2 MW) was led by senior guard Antino Jackson’s season-high 20 points, and senior forward Joe Furstinger’s 17 points and 10 rebounds. It marked Furstinger’s fifth double-double this season.
“I honestly really praise Coach on my second-half efforts,” Jackson said in a press conference after the game. “He really got me going and I was able to help my team. My team was telling me that they need me a lot, and I'm the point guard now, so I have to be there for the guys.”
In Wyoming (11-6, 2-2 MW), the Lobos faced no slouch. Most recently for the visiting Cowboys, prior to their loss on Wednesday, was a victory over Boise State, who they defeated in overtime.
Freshman guard Makuach Maluach put the Lobos on the board quickly, as he nailed a jumper in the first minute of play.
Shortly after, the Cowboys answered with a layup of their own to tie the game up. But UNM made it 7-2 after Furstinger nailed a 3-pointer and Maluach made a layup.
Wyoming went on a 7-0 run to claim its first lead, 9-7, nearly five minutes in. From there, both teams traded baskets, both garnering leads as many as five points in the remaining minutes of the first half. But it was the Cowboys who finished on a high note, tipping in a shot at the last second to go into the locker room with a 32-27 lead.
In the first half, UNM had 13 turnovers—something head coach Paul Weir wasn’t happy with, among other things.
“It was a pretty spirited half time. I was pretty upset and I think some of our players were pretty upset with some things that we were doing.” he said. “We were fortunately able to clean that up in the second half and obviously get a really big win.”
Quickly, though, the Lobos turned the tide as Jackson nailed two quick 3s in the first couple minutes of the second half, to put UNM up 33-32.
From there, UNM still managed to score, while holding its opponent scoreless. Jackson made a layup and junior guard Anthony Mathis nailed a 3-pointer of his own, which marked a 11-0 run in the first four minutes of the second half, to put the Lobos up 38-32. Wyoming, though they came within three points six minutes into the frame, would never grab a lead again, and by the end of the half found themselves unable to close the margin.
In total, the Lobos made 46 percent of their shots, as well as hitting 10 3-pointers. Their opponent, however, shot an even better 49.1 percent from the field.
The Lobos, though 13 of them were in the first half, committed 20 turnovers overall, while Wyoming had 18.
Wyoming had just 23 rebounds in the game, while UNM had 34 of them.
Up next for the Lobos is a game on the road at Fresno State this Saturday. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. and it will be streamed live on ESPN3.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.