New Mexico held on to first place in the
Conference with a 19-3 record overall and a league slate of 6-1 by
season highs with 56% (28 of 50) shooting and 22 assists while
season best with 11 three-pointers.
“Well this was a key game,” said UNM head coach
Steve Alford. “I thought
that we played
well and Nevada played well and we have had some separation and
that is a key.
In February, we try to get some separation from other teams and
there has been
three teams that we have been able to do that from. There are now
that are at least four games behind and that is good.”
The Lobos did not have an easy time defeating
2-5), who came into the game having lost two of its last five
games. But the
Wolf Pack gave the Lobos all they could handle, keeping the game
the first half and playing tough halfway through the second half.
New Mexico opened with a pair of treys to take
a 6-0 lead
early and set The Pit crowd into joyous noise. But as they would
game, Nevada answered and cut the lead to 8-6 on a Kevin Panzier
15:32 left in the first half.
The Lobos twice ran the lead up to six in the
first half but
Nevada made runs to keep it close. New Mexico led just 34-32 at
The Wolf Pack tied the game at 34-34 to start
half and took its first lead at 39-37 on a pair of Deonte Burton
with 17:00 left in the game. The two teams battled back and forth
team taking more than a three point lead for the next six minutes.
Then Nevada took their final lead, 51-50 with
11:17 left in
the game, on a Burton trey.
The Lobos would then crank up the defense and
went on a 10-2
run capped by a Chad Adams trey with 7:07 left. The Wofl Pack
continued to hit
threes, making The Pit crowd nervous but UNM steadily gained
Nevada 25-9 over the last 11 minutes.
““Tonight our defensive looked better in the
last 10 minutes
but we have had games where the entire 40 minutes has been
Alford. “They made a lot of shots early and the one thing our
defense has been
good at is patience. In those last 10 minutes we were the fresher
hopefully our defense had something to do with wearing them down.
they played well.”
UNM was paced by Hugh Greenwood’s 15 points and
rebounds, but the big news was 12 points from junior Demetrius Walker, who had
gone the entire month of January without making a shot and did not
Wyoming on Wednesday.
Alford said Walker has been practicing better
over the last
“I was going into this game knowing I was going
to play him
because he responded very maturely to not playing in Wyoming the
last two days
in practice to doing that,” said Alford. “As I have tried to send
subtle messages as I can it comes to effort at the defensive end
program and he gave that to us tonight. I think that opened him up
to do a lot
of other things and he can be a key if he will play with this kind
of energy at
a concentrated level.”
Asked how it felt to see his first shot of the
game fall in
for three, Walker was enthusiastic and succinct.
“Oh it felt great!” said Walker to much
laughter. “I don’t
think I hit a shot since Cincinnati.
That first shot tonight, in The Pit, it felt amazing.”
Walker also played the entire final eight
minutes due to
Tony Snell being limited by illness. Walker said it felt great to
be left in as
the game was being decided.
It feels great.
That’s all I did towards the end of the season last year,
so I just want
to get “ Closing the game with my teammates, there’s no better
that,” said Walker. “It’s just like going to war and coming out
tonight we did that. That’s
first time, maybe the second time this season I’ve been able to
close a game
like that and it felt really great just to come out and provide
Nevada finished with three players in double
by Malik Story’s 20 points. Burton and Jordan Burris each added 13
UNM also got 10 points and four rebounds from
whose playing time was limited due to his injured knee, which he
in the game before returning. The Lobos got a big lift from Adams
who provided the lion’s share of points from the bench – UNM’s
outscored Nevada’s 32-6 for the game.