Stevens: Alford's Lobos Rally For 54-48 Win At Fresno State

Feb. 13, 2013

Final Stats

New Mexico Lobos Men's Basketball -Mountain West - At Fresno State

Wednesday: New Mexico 54, Fresno State 48
Saturday: 7 p.m., (MT) - Boise State Broncos at New Mexico - The Pit

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Again, the Lobos found a way.

They did it with defense. They did it with rebounding. They did it by hitting big baskets. They did it by doing all those fundamental little things that so often win basketball games.

The Lobos did it by climbing out of an 11-point half-time hole and out of a 48-45 deficit with 3:40 to play to post a 54-48 Mountain West win at Fresno State Wednesday night.

Chew on this stat: The Fresno Bulldogs scored two field goals in their gym in the final 10 minutes of the game. They shot 26 percent in the second half.

Ouch.

The Lobos, 68-2 under Coach Steve Alford when holding a team under 60 points, are still on top of the Mountain looking down at the pack.

The Lobos had three players in double figures each with 10 points: Tony Snell, Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk. For sure, the Lobos had to throw out some improved offense to crawl out of their 11-point hole, but this win should be credited to the UNM defense.

UNM was down by three with 3:40 to play and finished the game on a 9-0 run. The Lobos used five offensive boards to produce four points - the last two a dunk by Cameron Bairstow that pushed UNM into a 49-48 lead.

The Lobos then forced a backcourt violation on a Bulldog in-bounds pass that led to a single free throw by Hugh Greenwood. He missed the second shot in a one-and-one situation, Fresno mishandled the rebound, and UNM pretty much sealed the win on a 15-foot jumper by Snell with 21 seconds to go.

Second Half: New Mexico 34, Fresno State 17

It was important for the Lobos to get out to another good start, score some field goals, and quickly get back into the game. They did it. The improved intensity on UNM's defense and offense was obvious.

The Lobos got 2-pointers from Greenwood and Kirk and then Snell popped in a three to pull the Lobos to 31-27. The Lobos were back in it.

At the 14:27 break, Fresno finally got on the board and were up 35-29. UNM got buckets from Snell and Greenwood, off a steal, to make it 35-33 with 13:55 to go. Adams hit back-to-back treys to nudge UNM into a 40-39 hole at the 11:50 mark. A dunk by Williams finally put the Lobos back into the lead: 41-40.

Fresno not only needed to match the Lobos on the scoreboard, but needed to match UNM's intensity. The Bulldogs got a layup and a 3-pointer to claim a 45-41 lead. UNM called a timeout. At the 3:13 media break, a Bulldog trey had the home team up 48-45.

The Lobos then cranked up their defense and their offensive board work. They got four looks at the basket and scored and then got two looks to go up 49-48. They held Fresno on the other end. The `Dogs had the ball with 1:19 to play and down 49-48.

The Bulldogs turned it over on an in-bounds pass that turned into a backcourt violation. Fresno fouled Greenwood at 53.4. He made the front end of a one-and-one, missed the back end, but Fresno lost the board out of bounds. That led to Snell's jumper with 21 ticks to go.

First Half: Fresno State 31, New Mexico 20

Good start. Bad finish. Big Hole.

The Lobos jumped up on Fresno State 16-to-9 on a jumper by Demetrius Walker with 8:13 to play in the half. That was the Lobos' last field goal of the half. One thing that Coach Alford preaches is not to let teams get on a run, but the Bulldogs rolled out a 14-0 scoring spurt to pull out of that 16-9 hole and into a 23-16 lead.

Alex Kirk broke the UNM drought at the line and Kendall Williams provided two more free throws to push the Lobos to their 20-point total.

UNM shot a frigid 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the first half while Fresno was a tad warmer at 39.3 percent (11-28). The `Dogs went 6-of-13 from long range and also won the board battle 23-16. UNM was 2-of-9 from long range.

The Lobos were looking to take advantage of the 7-foot Kirk and 6-9 Bairstow, but that combo went 3-of-12 from the floor and the points in the paint was 6-all. Alford got a technical at the 5:13 mark and Fresno State was called for its first foul of the game at 4:54.