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ALBUQUERQUE — It was a perfect Wyoming February outside — cold and snowy white — but inside the Lobos’ Pit the Cowboys’ gallant bid for a Mountain West upset also turned cold as the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team escaped with a gut-wrenching 66-61 overtime win.
Lobo head coach Craig Neal said after the game that it didn’t appear his players listened to him when he said, “This isn’t going to be a cakewalk. This is going to be one of the toughest games you play.”
And it was.
The Cowboys had the ball at the close of regulation and Larry Nance Jr. threw up a short jumper over Alex Kirk that failed to fall ending regulation in a 57-57 tie.
“We didn’t play as well as we were capable of playing, but they made it difficult on us,” said Neal. “Our guys hung in there and we made big free throws. We didn’t shoot the ball very well outside and Kendall (Williams) was having an off night. But he’s a clutch kid and he had some big free throws.”
The Lobos (18-4 overall, 9-1 in the Mountain West) took control of the overtime period quickly with a Cameron Bairstow dunk and packaged several critical Wyoming turnovers with some timely Williams’ free throws.
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