LAS VEGAS – Justin James’ college career came to an end Wednesday, but not before moving up in the record books at the University of Wyoming and the Mountain West.
James scored a game-high 31 points in the Cowboys’ 78-68 loss to New Mexico in the first round of the Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships on Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center. That moved James past guard Flynn Robinson (1963-65) into third place on UW’s career scoring list with 2,061 points. James moved past Fresno State guard Marvell Harris into fourth place on the MW’s career scoring list.
James scored 706 points this season, second only to guard Josh Adams’ 740 points in 2015-16.
Against New Mexico, James was 8 of 19 from the field, 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 11 of 16 from the free-throw line. James’ 710 career free-throw attempts are third in UW history, and his 200 shots from the charity stripe this season are tied for fourth for most in a season.
James played 38 minutes, and his 38.13 minutes per game were third-most in the country.
James also played in his 131st game for the Cowboys, which is tied for the second-most in school history with center Eric Leckner (1985-88). The leader is forward Alan Herndon with 133 from 2014-18.
Earlier this week, James was a first team All-MW selection by the media, a second team choice by the coaches and was named to the All-District VIII team by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Third-year coach Allen Edwards had other things to say about James aside from his production on the court.
“What he did from a leadership standpoint is going to be well-impacted by these young men,” Edwards said.
Junior point guard A.J. Banks is from Las Vegas and went to Cheyenne High.
He finished with eight points, four assists and one steal in 33 minutes. On Jan. 5 when UW played UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center, Banks had nine points, three steals and two blocked shots in 40 minutes in the Cowboys’ 68-56 loss to the Rebels.
Junior guard Jake Hendricks was 3 of 8 from 3-point range against New Mexico. He has made three or more 3s in 11 of the 20 games he has played this season.
Hendricks missed nine games with a right knee injury.
Call it a comeback
New Mexico trailed 38-27 at halftime, and won for the first time this season when facing a double-digit halftime deficit.
The Lobos were down by as much as 16 during the first half, and that is their largest comeback for a victory this season
By the numbers
UW fell to 3-21 this season when allowing 70 or more points.
It lost for just the second time in six games when leading at halftime.
It also fell to 5-7 this season on Wednesdays.
UW is 12-19 all-time at the MW Tournament, 2-56 in first-round games and 1-3 versus New Mexico. The Cowboys have lost three consecutive meetings with the Lobos in this event.
In all conference tournaments, UW is 23-21.
UW trails New Mexico 73-68, and is 2-6 against the Lobos on a neutral floor.
UW has lost 12 of the last 16 games against New Mexico, and five of the last six.