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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Coming off consecutive sub-par games, Wyoming guard Josh Adams was due for a break out performance.
He did so with a fury on Saturday against New Mexico, scoring a career-best 38 points to lead the Cowboys to a 70-68 victory.
"He's good," New Mexico coach Craig Neal said. "He had 38. I don't think there's been anybody score 38 in this building in a long time."
After Adams combined for 23 points on 7-for-28 shooting in his last two games, Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt had to have a little talk with his star guard, who leads the Mountain West in scoring.
"We visited after the game, we visited (Friday) before practice," Shyatt said. "You don't have to say a lot. I love him like a son."
Still, Adams was pretty upset.
"We talked about how disappointed he was on the road the other day and how low Josh was crying, apologizing to his teammates," Shyatt said.
"It was very frustrating," Adams said of his previous two games. "You just have to get back to the basics and enjoy the game. Stop pressing so much."
He certainly enjoyed himself against the Lobos (10-8, 3-2).
"We took a tough one at San Jose but we got a great one here at the Pit, where it's not easy to win," Adams said. "I just like the win. I don't think it can get much better regardless of whether I have 11 points like I did against UNLV or 38 like I had here, as long as I get to share it with this team."
Adams hit seven 3-pointers and went 11 of 12 from the line, including the clinching foul shots with 7.1 seconds left.
That was enough to offset five Lobos players in double figures, led by Tim Williams with 17.
Jason McManamen added 10 for Wyoming (10-9, 3-3 Mountain West).
New Mexico led 46-40 behind an 8-2 run. Wyoming then scored 12 points in a row — including 3s by Adams and Jeremy Lieberman — and a 22-7 run put the Cowboys up 62-53.
The Lobos' Elijah Brown hit a jumper, then a free throw with 26 seconds left to get within one, but McManamen and Adams made 3 of 4 from the line to ice it.
Brown, Cullen Neal, Xavier Adams all scored 13 points for the Lobos, who dominated inside with a 39-27 rebounding edge and a 42-12 scoring advantage in the paint.
In addition to his offense, Adams played a key role defensively, forcing Neal into a travelling call with 25.7 second left and the Cowboys leading 68-66.
The previous four meetings between the teams went to overtime.
New Mexico: New Mexico leading scorer Elijah Brown didn't enter the game until the 9:46 mark of the first half after he missed curfew following the Lobos' game at UNLV on Tuesday.
Wyoming: Shyatt and associate head coach Scott Duncan are former New Mexico assistant coaches. Adams' 38 was the most points by an opponent in the Pit since Wyoming's Donta Richardson scored 39 in 2003.
New Mexico travels to San Jose State on Saturday.
Wyoming hosts Nevada on Wednesday.
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