Defense, Team Effort, Propel New Mexico Past Wyoming, 79-65
The Lobos trailed for a total of 40 seconds against the Cowboys
New Mexico starts 2-0 in conference games, while Wyoming continues with growing pains.
Hunter Maldonado (27 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) led all scorers, but the effort from the sophomore out of Colorado Springs wasn’t enough to thwart off a balanced New Mexico (9-2, 2-0 MW) roster at Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyoming.
Four Lobos scored in double figures, including Corey Manigault (18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal), Carlton Bragg (15 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal), JaQuan Lyle (13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) and Makuach Maluach (12 points, 3 rebounds).
But it was arguably the play of JJ Caldwell (8 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals) that propelled New Mexico to victory. Caldwell did a little bit of everything, from consistent, high energy defense to orchestrating the offense, making beautiful passes like this one for New Mexico.
As a whole, the guard play of the Lobos was successful in opening up the paint, resulting in eight dunks for the away team, one of which came from the athletic sophomore Tavian Percy that got the Lobo bench on their feet.
While most of the game entailed a double-digit lead for New Mexico which led by as many as 20 points, the lead shrunk to a 46-37 advantage with 14:55 remaining in the second half. But from that point on, the Lobos kept a comfortable double-digit lead through the remainder of the half, despite ten made three pointers from the Cowboys.
Wyoming was the second straight opponent to New Mexico to make more hit double digits in three-pointers made, yet come up short on the scoreboard. Despite ten three-pointers made, several of which came late in the second half, Wyoming couldn’t ever get over the hump to make the game against New Mexico competitive.
Notable Team Stats:
- New Mexico finished the game with a 47-29 advantage on the glass. Surprisingly, Wyoming was able to pull down 8 offensive boards despite a get-back-on-defense approach that has been employed by the Cowboys.
- The Lobos went 80% at the free throw line, making 16-20 of their free throws, continuing the trend of being among the best in the nation at getting to the line.
- After a 6 turnover game against Boise State, New Mexico amassed 19 turnovers against the Cowboys. Wyoming was able to take advantage of the mistakes, scoring 21 points off turnovers.
- New Mexico’s depth challenged Wyoming’s young team. The Lobos bench outscored Wyoming’s bench 26-9.
Both Wyoming and New Mexico are off for the week before resuming non-conference play against Northern Colorado and New Mexico State respectively.