In a game of runs, the Lobos managed the final
outscoring UNLV 9-2 over the final 2:26 of the game to hold off
Rebels 65-60 in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams
in The Pit
before a sell out 15,411 crowd Wednesday.
With seven NBA scouts in attendance to watch
Freshman of the Year candidate Anthony Bennett, Alex Kirk scored
16 of his
game-high 23 points in the first half as New Mexico (14-2, 1-0)
fought to a
34-30 halftime lead.
But it was Kendall Williams' nine second half
junior finished with 11 points) that were the difference late,
decisive three-pointer Williams hit with 2:15 left in the game to
turn back a
Rebel surge and give UNM the lead for good.
"We knew it would be a very hard-fought college
basketball game and it was," said UNLV head coach Dave Rice. "It
a physical game and we didn’t do a very good job of overcoming the
that we were in. There were some toughness plays that we needed to
the stretch, and we just can’t give up offensive rebounds like we
The Rebels' Bennett was hampered by foul
trouble, scoring 12
points and pulling in six rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
Bennett and point
guard Anthony Marshall both fouled out. Marshall scored seven
points and pulled
in seven rebounds but committed five of the Rebels' 17 turnovers,
converted to 21 points.
"Obviously this is a huge win for us," said UNM
head coach Steve Alford. "The key was that they made runs when
out in transition and when we got them into half court, that
worked in our
favor. I thought our guys battled."
The Lobos led 9-4 early before the Rebels
managed an 8-0 run
of their own to take a 17-11 lead with 10:19 on a three pointer by
UNLV lead went up to seven at 19-12 before UNM
eventually taking the lead back on a trey by Tony Snell with 5:54
left to give
the Lobos a 24-22 lead.The Lobos and Rebels battled but UNM was
able to surge
ahead to take a 34-27 lead with 1:09 left on an Kirk jumper.
But UNLV scored the last three points of the
half to cut the
lead to 34-30 at the break.
After the break, UNM increased the lead to
37-30 on a trey
by Snell right out of the gate, But the Rebels answered with a
jumper by Bennett
and a trey by Katin Reinhardt that keyed a 15-2 run by the Rebels
to give them
a 45-39 lead with 15:53 left in the game.
But UNM battled back, using a strict defensive
reverse the game, managing a 13-6 surge to retake the lead at
52-51 with 8:06
left in the game. UNLV would fight back and take its final lead on
Hawkins three pointer to make it 58-56 with 3:24 left. But the
the ball over three times over the final three minutes and would
hit just one
shot from the field the rest of the way.
After Williams' trey gave them the lead, UNM
went 5 of 10
from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win.
Pitt transfer Khem Birch scored 12 points and
pulled in four
rebounds for UNLV (13-3, 0-1), Bryce Dejean-Jones added nine
points on 4 of 8
shooting and Justin Hawkins added eight points, hitting 2 of 3
In his first game action since a loss at North Carolina in
December, Mike Moser
scored three points and pulled in two rebounds in 14 minutes of
Snell added 13 points for New Mexico while
Adams scorer six
points and pulled in a game-high ten rebounds despite wrenching
his knee in the