Jackson’s Second Half Surge Leads New Mexico Over Wyoming, 78-68
The Jackson vs. James match-up was key to the game.
Contact/Follow & @MWCwire
New Mexico overcame a forgettable first half
Vance Jackson finished with 26 points and led New Mexico Lobos to an 88-78 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament on Wednesday.
It was a game in which New Mexico overcame a 16 point first half deficit by taking their defensive scheme back to the full-court pressure defense that had been benched, for the most part, since the early part of the season.
The Lobos forced the Cowboys into 16 turnovers, and executed a 22-3 run largely created by their full court pressure which simply didn’t look good in the early part of the game, much like the early portion of the season.
Wyoming took control of the game early with hot three point shooting, which was the story of the first half. While neither team shot the ball well from the field overall in the first half (or in the game for that matter), Wyoming made 53% of its three point attempts (7/12) in the first half, resulting in a 38-27 lead for the Cowboys heading into the locker room.
Wyoming maintained its second half lead largely on the play of Justin James, who was virtually unstoppable for 30 minutes of play.
But Vance Jackson, who looked like he turned his play up to the next level, torched the Cowboys with 21 points in the second half, taking over the game and scoring 13 straight points during the aforementioned 22-3 run for the Lobos, which finished the game with a burst of defensive intensity and a marked offensive improvement.
The 6-9 Jackson had quite the stat line for the Lobos, who move on to face Utah State in the second round of the tournament on Thursday.
It was the last game for the prolific James, who finished his career at Wyoming with more than 2,000 points. Unsurprisingly, the consistent Cowboy star finished with quite the stat line himself.
New Mexico: Vance Jackson (26 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals)
Wyoming: Justin James (31 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal)