Williams and Walker each hit
4-of-4 freebies while Marshall missed the front end of a two-shot
1:18 left in the game. The miss, and a blown dunk with 15 seconds
left in the
game, turned out to be the deciding factors in the game as the
New Mexico (26-6) held off a late charge from the 20th-ranked
That UNM was
even in a
position to win the game was a surprise considering the way the
The Rebels got off to a 17-4 start in the first half but
steadily reversed the
tide, eventually taking the lead and eventually the win.
an outstanding road team all year long, whether we've been on
neutral floor or a road floor," said head coach Steve Alford.
"To win the way we did tonight, getting down 17-4, I think it
was our largest comeback of the season. To do it against a team
like this speaks volumes of just how well we're playing. We took
a great punch in the mouth to start the game and our guys just
stayed poised and kept fighting. I'm very, very proud of how
they hung in there."
top-seeded San Diego St., which beat Colorado St.79-69 earlier
in the evening
to set up the rubber match Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. MST in the
"You know, like
I said basically this whole season, we got a chip on our
shoulders," said senior Drew Gordon, who scored a game-high 19
points. "You know, when that happens, plus the chemistry we have
together of us being basically brothers, it works. We know where
we're supposed to be at on the floor. We know we can get each
other's timing down of where we will be. I think we have an edge
up on some teams when it comes to that."
rebounds for his 16th double-double of his career and
double-dip of his college career. Tony Snell added 15 points,
eight straight points at the beginning of the second half to
spark the Lobos.
Walker added 12 points while Williams added seven, including
four in the final
19 while Oscar Bellfield added 13
points and Mike Moser scored 11 for UNLV. The Rebels top
shooters shot just
13-of-35 (37%). UNLV (26-8) would finish with 21-59 shooting
(35%). UNM shot 26-50
(52%) from the field and 15-of-17 (88%) on free throws.
big early in
the game, UNM turned up the defense and reversed their fortunes,
posting a 21-6
run first half run to get back in the game. UNLV would lead
34-31 at halftime.
After the two
treys to being the second half, Snell hit a jumper and a trey to
give UNM a
39-37 lead. UNLV’s Brice Massamba tied the game back at 39-39
moments later but
Snell then came down and knocked down another trey to give the
Lobos a 42-39
lead. The Lobos would never trail again.
their lead to
64-56 on a pair of free throws by Gordon. But the Rebels would
make one more
charge, tying the game at 64-64 with 2;23 left in the game.
then close the
game out on an 8-3 push, all of UNM’s points coming from the
free throw line.
praised the large, vocal contingent of UNM fans that at times
were as loud as the local UNLV fans.
"Our fans have
been tremendous all year," said Alford. "They've traveled well
for us. We've been a lot of places this year and they've
traveled well. But obviously with this being a league
tournament, they get access to more tickets. It was phenomenal."