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    Injuries continue to hurt Cowboys; Cowgirls also fall to New Mexico this weekend

    The Wyoming Cowboys fell to New Mexico 83-53 inside “The Pit” on Saturday afternoon in a contest that saw the up-tempo Lobos score 29 points on fast breaks. Wyoming falls to 4-14 overall and 0-5 in league play with the Lobos moving to 9-9 overall and 3-3 in the MW.

    “We are trying to teach these guys how to comeback by getting back-to-back stops and executing on offense,” UW head coach Allen Edwards said. “We got hit in the mouth and dealing with the youngness we could sustain staying the course. They got the best of us tonight.”

    The Pokes were led by senior guard Justin James, as he added 12 points for his 79th game in double-figures in his career. James tied Leon Clark for eighth in career field goals with 581. He left the contest late in the second half with an injury. He added five rebounds and finished three assists.

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    Junior A.J. Banks added 10 for his first double-digit scoring contest since scoring 18 at UTEP. Freshman Brandon Porter and added seven points on the night playing 22 minutes.

    “I’m growing as a coach and we are growing as a team and right now we have to get better,” Edwards said. “We need everyone from the staff and players to get better and grow. This is a tough place to play and this was a stepping stone tonight.”

    The Pokes finished the night shooting 35 from the field and 27 from behind the arc. The Lobos shot 48 percent from the field going 28-of-58. The Lobos owned a 43-26 advantage on the glass. Wyoming did score 17 points off of the Lobos 19 turnovers.

    The Lobos raced out to an 8-2 lead on the Pokes in the opening minutes, as the MW leader in triples Anthony Mathis fueled the run. New Mexico would increase its lead to as much as 10 points at 14-4, but the Pokes would cut it to seven with buckets from Brandon Porter and Young.

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    New Mexico would make it a double-digit contest once again hallway through the half for a 24-13 advantage. The Lobos were shooting 57 percent from the field to that point. But Porter added a triple seconds later for a 24-16 game with the Pokes opening 3-of-6 from behind the arc to that point.

    The Lobos would go on a 14-point surge until Justin James halted it with a fast break slam for a 38-18 contest with five minutes left in the half. But turnovers and fast break points hurt the Pokes with the Lobos scoring a combined 23 points in those categories to take a 42-25 halftime lead.

    Banks scored five points early in the second half to lead the Pokes, New Mexico continued the hot shooting to build the lead back to 20 points at 52-34 with 15:41 left in the game.

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    Wyoming would hit 4-of-5 shots with baskets from four different players to make it a 62-44 contest with just under 10 minutes remaining. Three of those came from freshman in redshirt Hunter Thompson (three pointer) and Taylor and Porter.

    The Cowboys offense would go cold after the brief run going scoreless for just over four minutes with the Lobos building a 24 point advantage at 68-44 with nearly five minutes remaining.
    The Lobos maintained the pressure with freshman walk-on Haize Fornstrom adding a three-pointer, but the Lobos took the 83-53 victory.

    The Lobos were led in scoring by Carlton Bragg with 16 points. He was 7-of-9 from the field and grabbed five rebounds. All five starters were in double figures with Keith McGee adding 14 points off the bench.

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    The Cowboys return to action on Wednesday hosting the San Jose State Spartans in the Arena-Auditorium for a 7 p.m. start. Tickets are available to Wednesday’s game by: going online at GoWyo.com/tickets, emailing [email protected],  calling 307-766-7220 or stopping by the UW Athletics Ticket Office on the west side of the Arena-Auditorium. A special offer for Wednesday’s contest features lower bowl $15 tickets for adults and $7 tickets for children ages 3-12.

    Cowgirls:

    The Wyoming Cowgirls (9-5, 2-3 MW) came up short, 78-75, against the New Mexico Lobos (15-2, 5-1 MW) in a game that featured six ties and 16 lead changes. Both teams shot the ball extremely well, and the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

    “If you give me your best effort, and we come up short on the scoreboard, I can live with that,” said head coach Joe Legerski. “You’re never happy with a loss, but as a coach, you have to understand that if your players are playing to their ability, then you’re getting the most out of them. I thought today’s game was exactly that.”

    Senior Marta Gomez scored a career-high 28 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Cowgirls, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Gomez poured in a season-high six three pointers and added four rebounds, a block and a steal.

    Marta Gomez had a big game for us tonight,” Legerski said. “She did what she needed to do and really stepped up. When you look across the board, I thought we really did that. We played a team tonight that’s 14-2, very talented, and has a number of players that can score.”

    Freshman Karla Erjavec scored 13 points with career highs in assists and rebounds with seven and five, respectively. Senior Bailee Cotton had her third double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds plus three steals on the defensive end. Junior Taylor Rusk rounded out UW’s double-digit scorers with 11 points to go along with a career-high-tying two blocks.

    Wyoming shot 46.4 percent (26-of-56) from the field, 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from three and 91.7 percent (11-of-12) from the charity stripe. It is the seventh time this season the Cowgirls have shot over 40 percent from long range. Wyoming had 22 assists and 13 turnovers, eclipsing the 20-assist benchmark for the third time this season.

    The Lobos were led by Aisia Robertson’s 24 points, five assists and three rebounds, while Jaisa Nunn added 16 points and three boards. Jayla Everett scored 14 points and added three assists, two blocks and a steal.

    New Mexico shot 52.6 percent (30-of-57) from the field, 44.0 percent (11-of-25) from three and 70.0 percent (7-of-10) from the free throw line. The Lobos had 12 assists and 11 turnovers.

    New Mexico opened the game’s scoring, and three early turnovers put the Cowgirls in a 6-0 hole to start. A Gomez three put the Cowgirls on the board, and she scored seven straight points to give UW a 7-6 lead. The teams traded baskets until a Gomez three put the Cowgirls up, 14-12 with a minute to play in the quarter. A Rusk trey gave Wyoming the 17-15 lead heading into the second quarter.

    The Lobos hit a three to start the second frame, and freshman Tereza Vitulova answered with a baseline jumper. Erjavec found fellow freshman Quinn Weidemann in the corner to give UW the 22-21 lead at the 7:18 mark, and Cotton scored from the other corner on the next possession. But, the Lobos put together a 12-0 run to take a 33-25 lead, as the Cowgirls went 4:50 without any points. Erjavec ended the run with a driving layup, but the Lobos hit a three to respond. A Gomez pull-up jumper cut the deficit to 36-29 at the halftime break.

    Gomez hit a three from straight away to start the second half, sparking a 7-0 run that forced a New Mexico timeout with the game tied 36-36 at the 7:39 mark of the third quarter. After trading baskets, the teams were tied, 41-41, at the 5:48 mark. The Cowgirls used a 7-0 run to take a 50-46 lead at the 2:44 mark. Gomez forced another Lobo timeout with a deep three, as the Cowgirl lead extended to 53-48 with 2:08 left in the quarter. However, the Lobos strung together a 9-3 run and held a 57-56 lead at the end of the quarter.

    Cotton scored a layup to start the fourth period, but Robertson hit a three to retake the lead. New Mexico called time after Rusk hit a transition three. The Cowgirls used an 8-0 run to take a 66-60 lead with 5:40 remaining. The Cowgirls called timeout as NM put together a mini run to cut the lead to one, 70-69 with 2:18 left to play. Robertson hit a three for New Mexico, and UNM took the lead, 72-70 at the 1:59 mark.

    After a Lobo layup, Gomez hit a three to bring the Cowgirls within one, and they fouled Nunn, who made both her shots with 17 seconds left to keep their three-point lead. Erjavec converted a layup to bring it back to one, and the Cowgirls fouled Everett, who made both free throws. Wyoming’s desperation three missed at the buzzer, and New Mexico took the win, 78-75.

    The Cowgirls are back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 23, when they travel to the Bay Area to face San José State. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. (MT) for that Mountain West matchup.

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