LARAMIE — With a career-high 31 points Tuesday, senior Lou Adams made Wyoming the only team in the country with four different 30-point scorers this season. But no amount of offense was going to be enough for the Cowboys to run with New Mexico.
The Lobos outscored every Wyoming opponent to ever step foot on the Arena-Auditorium floor and didn't even need overtime to do it, beating Wyoming 119-114 in a crucial Mountain West matchup between teams that entered the game tied for fourth place.
"It was a terrible defensive showing all-around by all five of us," Wyoming junior Justin James said after the highest-scoring game in Arena-Auditorium history. "We've just got to get better."
The Lobos, who also beat Wyoming last month in Albuquerque, are now alone in fourth place in the Mountain West, while Wyoming is by itself in sixth place, currently one spot away from a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Wyoming was thin at the forward position coming into the game, with Jordan Naughton still out with a back injury and Alan Herndon not starting for the first time this year because of illness. Things got worse when Andrew Moemeka, making his first start of the year in Herndon's place, fouled out with 14:24 to play, and Hayden Dalton picked up his fourth foul 4:04 into the second half.
The Cowboys struggled early and often against New Mexico's press defense, turning the ball over four times in the first 3 minutes of the game. After falling behind by as many as 11, Wyoming clawed back to take a 3-point lead, its largest of the game, on an 18-4 run. The Cowboys went into halftime trailing 55-53.
They then scored the first five points out of intermission, but the Lobos went on a 12-0 run in a 1:26 span. Wyoming, which had three turnovers in that time, never led again.
"I thought the turnovers caused it," Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. "One would say, 'Well, your defense was bad.' Well, when you turn it over and they go score in transition, that's not your defense. That's your offense, at the end of the day.
"It did hurt, because I thought we fought in the first half to put it half to where we had 20 minutes of basketball to win the game. And then, for them to come out that way, it hurt us."
A James free throw cut the gap to 68-65 with more than 15 minutes to play, but Wyoming couldn't get the necessary stops to come any closer. The Cowboys tried a full-court press of their own late in the game, and Cody Kelley used a steal and a layup to get Wyoming back within 5, but time expired shortly thereafter.
Any hope the Cowboys had of running with the Lobos died at the free-throw line. The Cowboys had hit their first 11 attempts from the stripe but missed 11 of their final 27 attempts.
Sam Logwood and Troy Simons shared New Mexico's game-high scoring honors with 24 points apiece. Neither player played in the teams' first meeting — Logwood because of a shoulder injury and Simons because of a suspension.
"Logwood, he's a physical dude," James said. "We knew what we were getting when he was coming into the game. He plays hard, rebounds the ball, and we can't let him get easy layups. It's hard to stop somebody when they're getting easy layups. It doesn't matter how good you are. If you get easy layups and open 3s, you know you're going to be successful."
New Mexico's 61.7 shooting percentage was the worst allowed by Wyoming since February 2013 (San Diego State, 68.2). The Cowboys' 57.8 shooting percentage was their best since a 58.3-percent game against Eastern Washington in last year's College Basketball Invitational.
New Mexico's 119 points were the Lobos' most against a Division I opponent since scoring 120 against Idaho in November 1977. The Lobos' 64 second-half points were the most by a Wyoming opponent this season, and the Cowboys' 61 second-half points were their most in a half, too, besting the previous mark of 53 set in the first half.
The Lobos shot 48.1 percent from the 3-point line, the best by a Wyoming opponent in the Edwards era. Wyoming's 56.5 percent night from the 3-point line was the team's best since that Eastern Washington game.
The Cowboys had 30 points off 20 New Mexico turnovers, while the Lobos had 26 off Wyoming's 18. The Cowboys' bench and starters each scored 57 points in the game. New Mexico's bench scored 59.
Herndon played just 7 minutes, a season low by a wide margin. Austin Mueller scored a career-high five points in 11 minutes, hitting both of his shot attempts.
Adams, who had a highlight-reel sequence with a block followed by a high-flying transition dunk, had missed Wyoming's last two games with an ankle injury. Dalton, James and Herndon are the other three Cowboys to have scored 30-plus points this season.
James scored 23 points, 20 of which came after halftime. Dalton scored 21 points, including 15 in the first half, to cross the 20-point mark for his seventh straight game.
Hunter Maldonado left the game with an apparent ankle injury. Edwards did not have a diagnosis after the game.
Two of the Cowboys' remaining three games are road games against top-three teams. Wyoming plays Saturday at Fresno State, which beat the Cowboys by 18 points in Laramie.