ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Jaelen House scored 34 points and New Mexico played stingy defense to beat No. 22 Wyoming 75-66 on Tuesday night.
“We finally got a big time win on our home floor,” said House, who also had six assists and four rebounds. “It feels good to finally bring some joy to our hometown fans.”
Jamal Mashburn Jr. added 18 for the Lobos (11-14, 3-8 Mountain West) and Jay Allen-Tovar had 15, including a crucial 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to extend New Mexico’s lead to 71-65.
The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the Cowboys (21-4, 10-2), who were led by Graham Ike’s 26 points.
Wyoming’s star Hunter Maldonado had just nine points – half his average – on 2-of-12 shooting.
“He’s a guy playing at an All-American level,” said Wyoming coach Jeff Linder. “There’s going to be a night where he doesn’t play at his best. He’s played so well all year long, but (Tuesday) just wasn’t his night. He’ll take responsibility for it and I know he’ll bounce back.”
The game was tight throughout, with the Lobos ending the game on a 7-0 run. But New Mexico took the lead midway through the second half with a 13-6 spurt that included eight points from House.
The undersized Lobos finished with a 32-30 rebounding edge, which was a key ingredient for the win, New Mexico coach Richard Pitino said.
“We knew we would not win the game if we did not get rebounds,” he said. “If we didn’t scrap, if we didn’t get loose balls. They’re bigger than us. They’ve got more size all around. If we didn’t just scratch and claw ,we had no chance.”
Wyoming came into the game having won 12 of 13, and was ranked for the first time since 2015. The Cowboys No. 22 slot was their best since the 1988 season.
This was New Mexico first win over a ranked opponent under coach Richard Pitino and first since the 2018-19 season.
THE BIG HOUSE
House scored 24 of his points in the second half, including several where he drove it through traffic to get buckets at the rim.
“He’s a guy that’s really shifty,” Linder said. “He’s a guy that can move you, shake you. That second half, give him credit. He made tough shots and made plays.
SHOOTING THE NIGHT FANTASTIC
Wyoming shot 40.4% from the field, well below its season average of 48.1%, while New Mexico shot 51.9%, well above its season average of 44.2%.
The Cowboys are home Saturday against Air Force, a team they beat 63-61 on Jan. 28.
The Lobos remain home against Colorado State on Thursday.