Joe Furstinger Led The Lobos In Scoring With 23 Points
New Mexico will play Utah State in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals
Lobos led the entirety of Friday night’s win over Wyoming
The first year of the Paul Weir era lives to see another day.
New Mexico beat Wyoming 85-75 Thursday night in the Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals, advancing to play No. 7 seed Utah State in Friday’s semis.
The Lobo scoring attack was led by forward Joe Furstinger, who finished with a career-high 23 points. Troy Simons (15 points) and Antino Jackson (11 points) also finished in double figures for the red-hot Lobos.
Alan Herndon (19 points) led the Cowboys in scoring, going 9-13 from the field including a number of highlight dunks. Hayden Dalton (12 points) and Cody Kelley (11 points) rounded out the Wyoming scoring. Justin James, who was limited to nine points on 3-15 shooting, suffered an ankle injury in the second half but later returned to close out the game.
New Mexico entered the tournament having won each of its final five conference games, and is now just two victories away from clinching the league’s auto bid, which would result in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014.
The Lobos roared out to a thunderous start, leading Wyoming 22-9 before the Cowboys could catch their breath. Wyoming found its groove later on in the half, cutting the double-digit lead to just two points in the half’s final minute.
Wyoming got the scoring going to begin the second half with a Cody Kelley three-pointer to trim the Lobo advantage to one. A flurry of fast-break baskets ensued, with New Mexico up 58-54 at the under-12 media timeout.
Both teams traded baskets the rest of the night, but New Mexico managed enough stops in the closing minutes to avoid surrendering its night-long lead. Joe Furstinger’s jumper with 2:40 remaining extended UNM’s advantage to 78-73, and clutch free throw shooting put the game on ice.
Wyoming (20-13) will wait to hear its postseason tournament fate. The Cowboys defeated San Jose State in Wednesday’s first round matchup by a score of 74-61.
New Mexico (18-14) advances to the Mountain West Tournament semifinals for the first time since for the first time since winning the tournament back in 2014. The Lobos were pegged ninth in most preseason conference projections. The game will tip off at 8:30pm Pacific and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.