Stevens: Gutsy Lobos Grind Out 79-74 Overtime Win at Boise State

Jan. 16, 2013

New Mexico Lobos Men's Basketball - On The Mountain West Road

Wednesday: New Mexico Lobos 79, Boise State Broncos 74
Up Next: 6 p.m.. Jan. 23 - Colorado State at New Mexico - The Pit

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

A few of the stat lines were confusing. A lot of those numbers produced on the Broncos' court suggested that Boise State had handed the New Mexico Lobos their first Mountain West loss of the season.

But it wasn't that way.

Maybe New Mexico should change its nickname to "Gutsy Lobos." The Steve Alford gutsy Lobos once again dug deep into their hearts, deep into their fundamentals, and deep into their pride in defense to pull out a hard-fought 79-74 MW win Wednesday night in Boise, Idaho.

"I really appreciate the effort of our guys again," said Alford. "Getting road wins is difficult. This is the fourth time we have come into somebody's home where they have been undefeated (and got a win).

"This might have been the best win maybe against the best team in their building."

The win did not come easy. The Broncos outshot the Lobos from the floor, out-rebounded the Lobos and had fewer turnovers. However, a basic emphasis by the Lobos proved to be the difference: UNM made more free throws than Boise State shot.

"We've been doing that on the road," said Alford. "They (Lobos) understand it. They get it. We shoot 40 percent on the road and we win again. That free-throw line has been very good for us.

"When you can make more than your opponents shoot, you give yourself a good chance to win."

UNM went 24-of-31 from the line and Boise State went 15-of-21. The Lobos outscored the Broncos by five in overtime to move their record to 3-0 in the Mountain West and 16-2 overall. The Lobo road win coupled with UNLV's win at San Diego State has the Lobos alone at the top of the MW standings.

The win was a huge road breakthrough and an important part of the pattern it takes to win a Mountain West title.

"We needed this one," said Alford. "If you can get a road win early, it helps you going into the next string of road games. Our guys have no fear and that's a lot of fun to coach. They miss shots; they keep fighting."

The Lobos overcame a 12-0 first-half run by Boise and 27 points from Derrick Marks. The Lobo got 22 points from Tony Snell, 15 from Hugh Greenwood, 11 from Kendall Williams and 10 from Alex Kirk, who went 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Greenwood, who got a huge offensive board followed by a 3-pointer with 32 seconds to play in overtime, almost never made the floor. Alford said his guard got ill during the night before the game and, "there was no way Hugh Greenwood should have been playing."

Greenwood missed all the pre-game activities (with permission) but gutted it out for 45 minutes Wednesday night. He has now scored 13 of UNM's 29 overtime points this season. He also had seven boards and three 3-pointers vs. Boise State. "I can't say enough about Hugh Greenwood," said Alford.

The Lobo line work also was primed by Cameron Bairstow going 4-of-4, Williams going 5-of-8 and Snell going 5-of-7.

"This was a great environment. The best crowd they had all year," said Alford. "They are hard to guard. They play small ball and it effects how you play."

Boise State got 12 points and 10 boards from Bronco Ryan Watkins, whom Alford suggested was fired up to play against UNM's Kirk. "When you get the headlines, you become locker room material for everyone else," said Alford. "Watkins was looking forward to this (playing against Kirk)."

Overtime: New Mexico 16, Boise State 11

The Lobos went up 71-66 in overtime before Boise charged back to make it 71-69. Chad Adams missed a jumper for UNM with 59 seconds to play, but Greenwood got the offensive board. That led to a Greenwood trey with 32 seconds to play. UNM was up 74-69.

Thompson hit two free throws with 28 to go: 74-71 and got a steal, but missed an open trey. UNM got the board and Snell made it 76-71 with two free shots with 19 ticks to go. Boise State turned it over and Snell again went to the line and added one: 77-71.

Boise threw up a trey that kissed the glass and fell: 77-74, but with only 1.2 seconds to play. UNM simply needed to get the ball in play, in Lobo hands. They did that and Williams created the final score at the line: 79-74.

Second Half: New Mexico 26, Boise State 26

The teams marched into the second half tied at 37-all and at the 11:28 mark the Lobos and the Broncos were still in a deadlock at 45-all. Boise State pushed to 52-46 on a clock-beating trey by Marks at the 8:32 mark.

The Lobos used back-to-back treys by Jamal Fenton to climb into a 54-53 lead, but Boise got back-to-back buckets from Drmic to go back up 58-54 with under five minutes to play. At the 3:32 mark, Kirk scored inside to cut the gap to 58-56 and Boise State called a timeout. The Broncos came out of their huddle and lost the ball on a shot-clock violation which took the teams into the 3:02 media break. UNM had the ball, down two points.

UNM came out of the break and worked Snell open for a trey: 59-85. Marks hit a quick jumper to put Boise up 60-59. Adams missed a tough shot for UNM and Kirk fouled Drmic, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. Snell then hit a trey for UNM - 59-58 - but Mark answered with a jumper 60-59, Boise's lead.

Williams drove and put UNM up 61-60, but Mark banged in a 3-pointer: 63-61. UNM called time. Greenwood formed a 63-all tie on a drive. Marks missed over good Kendal Williams' defense and UNM's Kirk got the board. Alford called a timeout with 18 seconds to play. UNM worked the clock into a Williams' jumper that missed - overtime.

First Half: Boise State 37, New Mexico 37

The Lobos survived a 1-of-6 start from the field and a late 12-0 Boise State run to tie the Broncos on the halftime scoreboard. UNM went 5-of-11 from 3-point range which helped make up for an 0-of-1 shooting effort from Kirk, who ended the half with two points.

Boise got 13 points from Derrick Marks and UNM got 12 points from Snell. UNM was down on the boards 19-to-13. Boise's Ryan Watkins had five boards in the first 20 minutes to match the five boards that Kirk and Bairstow combined to pull down for UNM.

The Lobos started off cold shooting 1-of-6 from the floor and were down 6-4 at the first media break at 15:32. UNM had one bucket in its first nine possessions. The Lobos warmed up and 3-pointers by Greenwood and Snell helped push UNM into a 16-14 lead at the 11:58 break.

The Lobos went up 23-20 before the Broncos threw out their 12-0 run to go up 32-23. Snell ended the UNM drought with a trey and the Loos scratched into the 37-all tie.