9:00 PM ET, February 9, 2004
University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jay Straight with 19 points and David Rottinghaus with 11.Granger, who also had 30 points against Wyoming in an 82-77 win by the Cowboys in Laramie on Jan. 12, was knocked out of the game with 43 seconds left after taking a shot to the chin while trying to block a shot by Wyoming forward Joe Ries.A groggy Granger lay on the court for several minutes. He tried twice to get to his feet but couldn't keep his balance and two of his teammates finally had to help him off the floor."I was dizzy, really dizzy," Granger said after the game. "(The doctor) said I had a concussion."Granger, the leading scorer in Mountain West Conference play, has consistently been double-teamed by opponents, but the Cowboys tried to use just one defender on the 6-foot-8 forward."Our philosophy has always been with a guy like Granger, if you worry so much about him, it will give other guys baskets and we didn't want to do that," Wyoming coach Steve McClain said. "He scored 30 points at our place and we won, so we were content to let him have his."The difference, McClain said, were two other Lobos -- David Chiotti and Alfred Neale -- who scored 20 and 17 points respectively."If they don't step up," said McClain, "we have a chance to win the game."New Mexico hit six of its eight 3-pointers in the first half and when Wyoming tried to shut down the Lobos' perimeter shooting, New Mexico went inside to the quick-footed Granger."They weren't attacking us inside, so we attacked them," said Granger.New Mexico went up 14-0 as Wyoming failed to score on its first 10 possessions. The Cowboys missed several shots in that stretch and had seven turnovers before Mikel Watson hit a 3-pointer with 13:19 left in the first half."That's not a good way to start a game," McClain said. "If we hadn't been down by 14, the game probably would have come out different. We just didn't have any energy."Wyoming, which finished with a season-high 11 3-pointers, steadily chipped away at the deficit by hitting eight 3s in the first half. The Cowboys hit their last five shots from behind the arc in the first half, but New Mexico still managed a 40-30 halftime lead.A field goal by Straight with 16:28 left got Wyoming within 44-41, but that was a close as Wyoming would come.New Mexico point guard Javin Tindall hit a 3-pointer and after Rottinghaus was called for a charge, Neale hit a 3-pointer. The two 3s kicked off a 15-3 run by New Mexico that made it 59-44 with 12:44 left.Wyoming cut the deficit to 61-54 with a 10-2 run that included seven points by Omoniyi Makun and a 3-pointer by Watson, but New Mexico stayed in front with its free throw shooting.The Cowboys lost for the eighth time in their last 10 games.
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