Vance Jackson leads New Mexico to victory at Mountain West Tournament

Local Sports

Wednesday continues to be special for Paul Weir and his Lobos. They remain undefeated after a 78-68 win over the Wyoming Cowboys in a Mountain West Tournament play-in game. The game with one of two halves with the Lobos struggling mightily in the first half. The Lobos only shot 28 percent in the first half and went into halftime trailing 38-27.

Weir told his team to stay positive at the half. Vance Jackson took his advice as the Lobo sophomore had his best evening in cherry and silver. Jackson exploded for 21 points in the second half. He scored 26 points overall with 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Jackson put the Lobos up for good with a jump shot that made the score 49-47.

“Once we got back in the game we knew we just need to close it out and we did that,” said Lobos sophomore Makauch Maluach. “Just closing it out we needed to hit free throws and stuff like that and we did that tonight.” 

Four Lobos finished in double figures. Maluach scored 13 points which included a pair of thunderous dunks. Keith McGee found his range on the court in the second half and finished with 12 points while Carlton Bragg chipped 10 points and 7 rebounds. The win improved the Lobos overall record to 14-17 and uplifted a team that has struggled with disappointment all season. 

“Just staying positive and just playing our hearts out, just to keep this season going,” said Jackson. “I feel like that was the most important for us.”

Justin James scored a game high 31 points in a losing effort for the Cowboys as they finished the season with an 8-24 record. The Lobos and the two seed, Utah State, will meet in the Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at 7 p.m. Mountain time. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. 

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