UW-New Mexico men’s hoops: 3 takes, notes, quotes and VIDEO

My three takes from Wyoming’s 63-62 overtime win over New Mexico Saturday at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie:

1. Similar to last week for Nance: UW senior forward Larry Nance Jr. missed a free throw with 14.9 seconds left to play in overtime that would have tied the game. But a few seconds later, he stole the ball and ended up with the game-winning dunk with 3.2 seconds left. In UW’s 70-65 triple overtime win at Fresno State last week, Nance missed two free throws with 0.5 seconds left in the second overtime that would have won the game. “Apparantly its my thing to miss clutch free throws late when we win,” Nance said. Still, Nance finished with a team-high 23 points, and was 11 of 13 from the line. He also had six rebounds, five turnovers, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Only one of those turnovers came in the second half and overtime.

Here are late-game highlights, including Nance’s steal and dunk in the final seconds, and player interviews after the game:

2. Adams does it again: Junior guard Josh Adams’ three free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. Adams was fouled on his 3-point shot by New Mexico senior guard Hugh Greenwood. Adams tied a season-high with 20 points on 5 of 10 shooting and was 3 of 6 from 3-point range. He also was 7 of 7 from the free throw line, and added four rebounds and two assists. Adams seems to always come up with a big play or two when UW needs it. He has scored in double digits in 10 straight games.

3. Something special about this team: As you may have seen by watching the player interviews, this team really likes each other. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. didn’t score and was 0 of 6 from the field. He did have four assists and three steals. During the player interviews, he peaked his head into the interview room and said to the players: “I love you guys.” Most people just care about if their favorite teams win or lose, but this group of guys are special in how mentally tough they’ve been in some pretty tight times in games. Here is coach Larry Shyatt after the game about that, and other aspects of the game.

A few other notes, quotes and observations from the game:

–He may have gone unnoticed, but UW senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. did a lot of good things on the floor. He had five rebounds, three of which were on the offensive glass. He also tied a career-high with three steals.

–“It was mayhem. I couldn’t see a whole lot, but I was trying to make a quick play. I saw Larry out of the corner of my eye. If I got the ball I was going to rifle to him. I really wasn’t paying attention tot he time on the clock. Luckily we got way with a win.” — UW senior guard Riley Grabau, who had the assist on Nance’s game-winning dunk in overtime.

–Nance is now 19th in UW history in scoring with 1,219 points.

–“That’s not easy when ther’s a lot of peple watching.” — UW coach Larry Shyatt on Adams making three free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation to tie the game.

–UW had 15 assists on 18 baskets, and have had double-digit assists in all but two games this season.

–The Cowboys’ eight 3-pointers tied for the second-most this season, and most in a conference game. UW was 8 of 23 from behind the arc, but Grabau and Adams were a combined 6 of 13. If those two can keep that up, that will really help this team in the future.

–“Our guys played well enough to win and we made two crucial mental mistakes that cost us the game we had won. We told them not to foul on a 3, and we fouled them. And then the last possession they were told in the huddle to call time out and we didn’t call. I’m yelling to call it. We still get the ball inbounds and we get it to the guy that we want to shoot free throws and for some reason he doesn’t hold it to for the five seconds.

“We’re here to win to championships, we’re not here for splits (on the week). I’m not happy about it. We played well enough to win that game, but we just gave it to them and they had two great players who took it from us and made great plays.” — New Mexico coach Craig Neal.

–New Mexico remains one of two teams in the country (Cincinnati is the other) not to allow a team to score 70 or more points this season.

For more coverage of this game, and other UW and high school sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang. Also, log on to wyosports.net and check back to this blog.