The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team (9-2, 2-0 MWC) traveled to Laramie on Saturday afternoon to face the University of Wyoming (3-7, 0-2 MWC), recording a 79-65 victory and preserving their undefeated record in conference play.
The Lobos dominated around the rim Saturday, outscoring Wyoming 44-24 in the paint and out-rebounding the Cowboys 47-29. Thanks in part to senior forward Carlton Bragg’s early foul trouble, Corey Manigault recorded nine first-half points to go with four rebounds.
“I thought Corey got into a flow because Carlton got in foul trouble [and played just eight minutes in the first half],” said UNM head coach Paul Weir. “That’s two games in a row now that we’ve had to sit Carlton with two fouls early in the game, and we’ve got to find a way to clean that up.”
Manigault and Bragg each played a strong second half, ultimately combining for 33 points and 22 rebounds for the night, including half of the team’s offensive rebounds.
A 15-point, 15-rebound performance marked exactly 110 rebounds on the season for Bragg, who is now on pace to average 10 rebounds per game — the third Lobo to do so in team history.
“He bounced back with terrific energy — played really hard,” said Weir of Bragg’s performance. “He’s a force and obviously him and Corey together are tremendous when they’re on.”
Wyoming only led for a mere 40 seconds of game time. UNM seized control early on and didn’t look back, as the Lobos entered the half with a 32-21 lead. Outside of sophomore guard Hunter Maldonado’s 27-point outing which led all scorers, the Cowboys offense struggled to find their groove. Throughout the game, Wyoming shot less than 40% from the field and recorded just 12 assists.
UNM guard JJ Caldwell chipped in 8 points, 9 assists, and 10 rebounds, nearly posting a triple-double stat line while maintaining his place as the Mountain West leader in total assists.
UNM’s offense showed its high potential yet again, with four scorers reaching double digits and leading by as many as 20 points during the game.
Now 11 games into the season, the Lobos are tied atop the Mountain West for games won. After its latest strong outing, UNM will get seven days off before taking on in-state rival New Mexico State at home Saturday, Dec. 13, just a few weeks after a tightly-contested 78-77 victory against NMSU on Nov. 21.
Joe Rull is the multimedia editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @rulljoe