LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — New Mexico’s big men were struggling and starting point guard Hugh Greenwood was out with an ankle sprain. No problem for [auth] the Lobos, who tapped their deep bench to extend their winning streak to 13 games with a 72-62 victory over Wyoming on Saturday.
Jamal Fenton, starting in place of Greenwood, scored 13 points, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range and reserve Phillip McDonald buried a pair of shots from long range during a game-clinching 17-2 run. Kendall Williams scored a team-high 14 points and had a game-high five assists for New Mexico (15-2, 1-0 Mountain West).
Francisco Cruz had 22 points, Leonard Washington 15 and Luke Martinez 11 for Wyoming (14-3, 0-1), which lost for the first time in 12 home games.
New Mexico, a strong 3-point shooting team, was 8 of 14 from beyond the arc, and the Lobos’ reserves outscored the Cowboys’ 22-4.
“I thought Tony (Snell) had an off-scoring night, Drew (Gordon) never got in rhythm, and we don’t play Hugh – so that’s three starters – and we come in and did a lot of good things,” Lobos coach Steve Alford said. “I don’t know too many benches that are as good as our bench, and I thought our bench was a huge key tonight.”
Fenton said he was ready for the challenge of leading the team.
“Coach just preached about me the whole time just running the show,” he said. “Right before the game he said, “It’s either you or (Wyoming’s JayDee) Luster running the show. Who’s going to be better?’ and I told him, “I’m going to be better this game.’ ”
During non-conference play, Wyoming held opponents to 28 percent from 3-point range. New Mexico shot 57 percent.
“I thought their substitutes did a great job. They really complement the interior,” Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. “Those 3-balls hurt us — those 3-balls were the difference. They’re a good enough team that if they knock down 8 for 14, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
Martinez’s 3-pointer with 14:37 remaining tied it at 44, but Gordon’s 15-footer on the ensuing possession started New Mexico’s big roll. Bairstow then hit a layup, Demetrius Walker converted a 3-point play and Snell sank a trey to make it 53-44. After Cruz temporarily stemmed the tide with a 12-footer, McDonald drained his back-to-back 3-pointers, then Chad Adams had a steal and fed Fenton for a layup to put the Lobos up 61-46 with 5:05 to go. Wyoming would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Williams and Cruz each scored 10 in the first half, which had four ties and five lead changes before New Mexico went up 34-30 at intermission. The Lobos won the rebound battle 29-22 and outshot the Cowboys 52 percent to 42 percent.