Stevens: Wyoming Looks For late-night Pit Upset
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/04/2014

Handicap Parking update:  If ADA spaces are full, there will be an overflow lot available in the Baseball South Lot with free golf-cart shuttles available to Pit’s Southeast entrance before and after the game. The drop-off lane on East side of The Pit is still available.

New Mexico Lobos Mountain West Basketball – In The Pit

Who/When: 9:05 p.m. (MT), Wednesday; Wyoming (14-7, 5-3 MW) at New Mexico (17-4, 8-1 MW)

On The Air: TV – ESPNU (DISH 141, DirecTV 203, Comcast 281): 770-AM KKOB

GoLobos.com: Game Story, Statistics, LoboTV, Quotes

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com.

The Wyoming Cowboys will limp into The Pit Wednesday for a late-night Mountain West run minus two key team members – one who scores no points and has no rebounds, and another coming off a career game.

For sure, the Cowboys will be coming into an arena where they haven’t posted a win since 2003 without the services of sophomore guard Josh Adams, who was suspended by the Mountain West due to a technical foul stemming from striking an opponent.

Adams had a career-high eight assists and added 19 points in Wyoming’s convincing 74-57 pounding of Utah State in Laramie.  The ‘Poke supposedly will be without their crafty head coach Larry Shyatt, a former New Mexico assistant to Gary Colson, who is battling a viral infection. Shyatt is on that game-to-game status, but is supposed to miss this Pit stop.

“This profession is definitely trying, and pressure packed and draining,” said Lobo Coach Craig Neal.

The Cowboys’ revolving coaching chair slides under Associate Head Coach Scott Duncan for a good reason.  It was his job to do the scouting report on the Lobos.  This will be Shyatt’s third absence in a row as the other two Wyoming assistants, who filled in the scouting reports, got wins at Air Force and vs. Utah State.

Duncan has a tough act to follow and takes control of the Cowboys’ strings in what clearly has to go down as the toughest of the three substitute roles: in The Pit vs. Lobos.

Since the Cowboys are 1-9 in their past ten meetings with New Mexico, it’s only fair that GoLobos.com helps out Duncan, another former Lobo assistant to Colson, with his game plan for Wednesday.

1.      Watch out for Cameron Bairstow.

2.      Watch out for Kendall Williams.

3.      Watch out for Alex Kirk.

4.      Watch out for all Hugh Greenwood and all those other run-and-gun Lobos, who have won 10 of their past 11 games including five on the Mountain West road.

5.      Don’t let the Lobos go to the line.

6.      Don’t let The Pit become involved.

And, oh, yeah: take some New Mexico red and green chile back North to Shyatt. Viral infections fear New Mexico chile. Viral infections laugh at Colorado green chile.

The Cowboys have good reason to fear the Lobos, who have been playing hot, not mild, basketball of late.  But Lobo Coach Craig Neal says his Lobos need to fret some about the Cowboys, too.

“My job is to keep them grounded and keep them focused on the next one and the next one is Wednesday night against a very tough team that can win here,” said Neal.

“We have had two teams come in here and win and I don’t’ want to see too many more teams come in here and win.”

Actually, Neal doesn’t want to see any teams come in here and win. The Cowboys haven’t won since 2003, but this is a well-coached Wyoming team with talent.

They also have Larry Nance Jr., who tops the Wyoming scoring charts with his 16.2 average and pulls down 9.1 boards a game.

“His body has matured,” Neal said of Nance. “He is long and he does a lot of good things and he’s been their focal point. He’s a big-time player and he’s had a good start to the conference. We have to keep him under wraps like we did the first game.”

 The benched Adams is No. 2 on the Cowboy scoring charts with a 12.1 average which might mean Riley Grabau (47.6 percent from 3-point range) will be throwing up a few extra bombs on Wednesday. Adams also spent a lot of time guarding UNM’s Williams in the Lobos’ 72-69 overtime win in Laramie.  Williams had 10 points going 4-of-16 from the floor.

The Cowboys obviously will need to score some points because this New Mexico offense is tough to stop.  However, Wyoming also needs to control the tempo, maybe keep the board in the 60s – and contain Bairstow.

“I think they are going to come in here and zone us,” said Neal. “They zoned us the whole first half last game.”  

The 6-9 Bairstow earned Mountain West Player of Week honors after averaging 18 points and 6.5 boards in UNM’s MW road wins at Utah State and vs. San Jose State. Bairstow averages 20.0 points over UNM’s 21 games. Williams is at 17.6 and Kirk is at 13.9 with 8.5 boards a game.

 “My biggest sell to my team is to keep stepping forward,” said Neal. That means Neal want his Lobos to keep getting better because other teams are getting better and the competition down the road will be better.

Wyoming is a good test because the Cowboys do so many fundamental things well. They honor possessions, rebound, take good shots and use tempo and defense to frustrate other teams into doing bad things.

It’s tough to get Neal’s Lobos to do bad things.  They are well-coached, too, and the talent edge leans toward New Mexico. Wyoming has to try and disrupt that talent – in The Pit.

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.

New Mexico Lobos Basketball 2013-14 Season Roster

No. Sort by Number
Name Sort by Name
Pos. Sort by Position
Ht. Sort by Height
Wt. Sort by Weight
Yr. Sort by Eligibility Year
Exp. Sort by Years Experience
Hometown (Prev School)
1   Cleveland Thomas G 6-3 195 So. 1L Baton Rouge, La. (Scotlandville Magnet HS)
2   Chris Perez G 6-0 190 Sr. SQ Corona, Calif. (Centennial HS)
3   Hugh Greenwood G 6-3 205 Jr. 2L Hobart, Australia (Australian Institute of Sport)
5   Arthur Edwards G 6-6 205 So. JC Temple Hills, Md. (National Christian Academy)
10   Kendall Williams G 6-4 180 Sr. 3L Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Los Osos)
11   Obij Aget C 7-1 225 Fr. HS La Porte, Ind. (La Lumiere HS)
12   Devon Williams F/G 6-7 205 RFr. RS Dallas, Texas (Woodrow Wilson HS)
13   Cullen Neal G 6-4 180 Fr. HS Albuquerque, N.M. (Eldorado HS)
22   Merv Lindsay F 6-7 205 RSo. TR Moreno Valley, Calif. (Canyon Springs HS)
23   Nick Banyard F 6-8 205 So. 1L Flower Mound, Texas (Marcus HS)
24   Tim Myles F 6-6 225 Fr. HS Etiwanda, Calif. (Etiwanda HS)
33   Deshawn Delaney G 6-5 190 Jr. JC Chicago, Ill (Vincennes JC) (Carver Military)
41   Cameron Bairstow F 6-9 250 Sr. 3L Brisbane, Australia (Australian Institute of Sport)
53   Alex Kirk C 7-0 245 RJr. 2L Los Alamos, N.M. (Los Alamos)