thought our guys battled again – we did what we do," said UNM
Steve Alford after the game. "(We) didn’t shoot the ball
– that’s been the case all year long. We just battle, we guard,
we compete and
we make big plays. I thought we made big plays down the stretch.
that a lot this year, so that’s a good trend."
Kendall Williams had a Lazarus-like performance, scoring a
game-high 24 points
on 7 of 12 shooting after going down just a minute and a half
into the game
with a badly twisted ankle.
Tony Snell added 11 points and three assists while sophomore
added 10 points and six rebounds for UNM.
New Mexico St. was paced by guard Daniel Mullings, who scored a
team-high 13 points
and had five rebounds but shot just 4 of 11 from the field. Remi Barry and
Tyrone Watson added 12 and 11 points respectively. Forward
Bandja Sy scored
five points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
the game ranked 16th in the AP poll and 17th in the Coaches
poll, New Mexico
(12-0) fell behind after battling the first five minutes. With
working out the kinks and the Aggies shooting lights out early
on, NMSU grabbed
a 25-14 lead with 8:56 left in the first half on a three-pointer
by Watson –
the third trey in a 12-4 run that left both the Lobos and their
contingent of fans seemingly stunned.
minutes later, Williams kicked his game into gear, scoring nine
of the next 11
points as UNM produced an 11-0 run to tie the game 25-25 with
4:23 left in the
half. The two teams traded shots until Williams drove the basket
and laid the
ball to give UNM a 34-32 lead with 44 seconds left in the first
half – a lead they
would take with them into halftime.
player on the floor," said Alford of Williams. "Kendall Williams
extremely talented. He had a great game for us tonight both
defensively. He was a great leader tonight and he’s playing at a
two teams traded baskets and leads early in the second half
before New Mexico
managed an 8-0 run fueled by a pair of three-point plays – a
trey and a lay up
followed by a made free throw – to give the Lobos the lead for
good at 49-41
with 12:04 left in the game.
Mexico St. surged twice to cut the lead to two points but was
unable to regain
the lead as the Lobos made plays on the offensive and defensive
critical junctures. Leading just 56-54 with 3:41 left in the
game, New Mexico
engineered a 10-4 run that saw two Aggies foul out and returned
the lead to
eight at 66-58 with 26 seconds left in the game.
of the keys to he game was reducing the Aggies’ shooting
percentage from three
point range in the second half. NMSU shot a terrific 6 of 7
(85.7%) on treys in
the first half but were held to just 4 of 10 shooting in the
second frame. Alford
said he and his staff didn’t really make any adjustments
just said 'Contest more,'" said Alford. "They (the Aggies) have
been a good three point shooting team and to their credit in the
they made threes. They made threes all night long… we weren’t
about it we just wanted to contest a little better because we
felt the key was
finished the game shooting 21 of 55 (38.2%) compared to UNM’s 23
of 56 (41.1%)
and 10 of 17 (58.8%) on triples compared to the Lobos’ 6 of 20
throw shooting was again a key for UNM, with the Lobos hitting
16 of 21 (76.2%)
from the charity stripe compared to a pedestrian 11 of 20 (55%)
for the Aggies.
the height advantage with 7 foot 2 starting center Sim Bhullar,
NMSU lost the
rebound battle 39 to 34 and was slightly outscored in the paint
Froward Cameron Bairstow added nine points and seven rebounds
coming off the
bench as starting center Alex Kirk and starting forward Chad Adams were limited
by foul trouble.
and Adams scored four and six points respectively, combined for
and played just 22 minutes collectively before fouling out.
Nick Banyard added two points and three rebounds in 15 minutes
of play – his
most this season. However, New Mexico State’s bnch did outscore
reserves 25 to 13.
a big game for us," Alford summed up Wednesday night. "We’ve got
our next 4 on the road I thought it was imperative we get this
one on the