Mesilla Massacre II: UNM routs NMSU 89-69

It wasn't just revenge for the UNM men's basketball team against arch-rivals New Mexico State at the Pan American Center – it was, as James Brown once sang – the Big Payback. UNM avenged an early-season loss and defeated the Aggies 89-69 behind 23 points and 19 rebounds from Drew Gordon and 12-of-24 (50%) shooting from three-point range before a crowd of 8,361 in Las Cruces, N.M. Wednesday night.

New Mexico (11-2) came in as a 1-point underdog according to Vegas sports books, but after a tight start the Lobos turned a tight game into a rout. Tied 9-9 with NMSU four minutes into the game, UNM went on a 14-4 run to take a 23-13 lead with nine minutes left in the first half and would increase the lead to 49-19 behind terrific three point shooting and solid defense.

"We wanted to defend the interior and make them shoot jump shots" said head coach Steve Alford. "We were not convinced they were a good jump-shooting team. A big key is we make (twelve) treys and they make one. We took away transition and we took away the free-throw line. Those are huge parts of their offense and we took those away."

New Mexico would assume a 46-25 halftime lead largely on the strength of its three point shooting, making 9-of-13 (69.2%) from three-point land and finishing with 12-of-24 on the night.

Gordon hit 5-of-7 free throws and went 9-of-15 from the field to lead UNM and garner his seventh double-double of the season and 21st of his college career. The senior's 23 points tied a career-high.

Sophomore Tony Snell tied a career high in scoring a team-high 24 points on 5-of-8 shooting on treys and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Kendall Williams added 12 points and 4 assists.

NMSU (8-5) would get big nights from big men Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman, who scored 25 points and 19 points respectively, but the Aggies guards combined to go 6-of-31 shooting for the night and NMSU hit 1-of-14 on treys for the night. The Aggies hit as many field goals (22-of-68) as they did free throws (22-of-35) but were unable to parlay those results into a win as they did at The Pit.

UNM traded baskets with NMSU to begin the second half and eventually expanded its lead to 81-47 with just oer seven minutes left in regulation.

"I'm just really pleased with our guys," said Alford "We came in here and led pretty much start to finish and most of it was by double figures. I thought our defense was really good. Our effort was tremendous."

Alford said he was extremely happy with how his team is going with three games left in its out-of-conference schedule.

"To win nine in a row and go through the non-conference season undefeated in true road games is a tremendous start for us," said Alford. "It gives us a lot of confidence going into the conference season knowing we are going to have some very difficult road games in our league."

UNM now welcomes former Utah head coach Rick Majeurus and 12-1 St. Louis to The Pit Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Billikens are on a six game winning streak of their own, their last win coming at home 71-39 over Texas Southern.

SLU's only loss this season was a 75-68 decision at Loyola Marymount.

The UNM-St. Louis game will be televised live on The Mtn. and broadcast on the Lobo Radio Network, in Albuquerque on KKOB-AM.

The Lobos will have every remaining game televised.

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