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No. 14 New Mexico handles slumping Wyoming
Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - Alex Kirk scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead No. 14 New Mexico past the struggling Wyoming Cowboys, 53-42, at University Arena.
Cameron Bairstow chipped in 13 points and also grabbed nine boards, while Tony Snell donated nine points for the Lobos (25-4, 12-2 MWC), who have won five straight and eight of their last nine overall.
New Mexico clinched the Mountain West Conference regular season title with the victory.
Riley Grabau had 14 points and made four shots from 3-point range for the Cowboys (18-11, 4-11), who have lost their last four games and seven straight conference road tilts.
Bairstow and Kirk accounted for the home team's first 11 points of the second half, as the Lobos took a 36-31 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
On the next Wyoming possession, Derek Cooke Jr. battled down low to grab his own rebound for his own basket to bring the Cowboys within three.
New Mexico, however, then distanced itself with a 10-1 surge as the game winded down. Kendall Williams nailed a jumper to make it 46-34 with 4:21 to play, all but ending Wyoming's chances for an upset.
The flurry proved to be the difference-maker, as the 'Pokes never got closer than nine points, and New Mexico held on for the victory.
New Mexico led at the break, 25-19, after closing the half on a 9-3 swing.
The Lobos broke a 16-16 tie at the 4:53 mark of the first half with four straight points from Tony Snell.
New Mexico has won 14 straight conference games on their own court, while Wyoming has dropped its last 10 visits to Albuquerque.
"I have a different feeling today than I did the last few games," Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. "I thought our guys had an understanding about how we could beat the best team in the league on their home floor. I was proud of how they attacked the game and kept this to a one possession game."
Wyoming shot 28.1 percent (16-of-57) compared to 35.7 percent (15-of-42) for the Lobos ... New Mexico is 15-1 at home this season ... Wyoming is 6-7 on the road ... The Lobos shot 21-of-27 from the charity stripe, but made 2-of-14 from 3-point range.
03/02 20:34:15 ET
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