UNM drops Boise St. 65-49 for MWC road win

If the UNM men's basketball team was wary of a letdown against host Boise State Saturday afternoon, it did not show it. The Lobos jumped out to a 10-4 lead early, shot just under 50 percent in the first half and never trailed in defeating the Broncos 65-49 before an announced crowd of 4,159 at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

New Mexico (19-4, 5-2 MWC) shot 24-of-54 (44.4%) percent from the field for the game and held Boise State to 6-of-28 (21.4%) from long range and 31.1% (19-of-61) from the floor overall to secure the road win.

"It was another good performance and another good road win," said head coach Steve Alford. "Our guys are doing some really good things. This was a tough, difficult stretch. We're in a very good league and we were able to beat some very good teams and beat them soundly."

"This is as proud of a team as I've been in my five years (at UNM)," said Alford. "I've been as hard on them the past 13 days as I've been on any team I've coached."

The Broncos (10-12, 0-7) were coming off of two close losses to Mountain West Conference leaders UNLV (who they pushed to overtime a39-27t home) and San Diego State (where they lead before missing a trey for the win at the buzzer).

But a stellar defensive effort by the Lobos Saturday kept Boise State from ever mounting a threat. Though UNM committed more turnovers than the Broncs (16 for the Lobos to BSU's 13), New Mexico turned the turnovers into more points outscoring Boise 17-12 in that critical stat.

Sophomores were the story Saturday as Kendall Williams shot 7-of-8 from the field to pace UNM with 18 points and Tony Snell added 13 points. Freshman point guard Hugh Greenwood posted his first career double-double as a Lobo, posting 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Kenny Buckner paced Boise St. with 11 points for Boise State.

UNM lead early but the Broncos battled back to take a 12-10 lead at the 12:19 mark of the first half. But UNM's responded with a 11-2 run fueled by a pair of Phillip McDonald three-pointers and punctuated by a Snell dunk to five UNM 23-12 lead with 7:41 left in the half. BSU managed another run but the Lobos answered and would take a 32-25 lead into halftime.

The second half started sloppily for both teams but UNM eventually settled down and cranked out a 13-5 run to push the lead to 45-30 with 14:41 left in the game. The Lobos absorbed one more run by the Broncos and would lead by as much as 21 points before closing the game out.

"We're excited," said Alford. "We're 5-2 at the midpoint and we are no more than one game out of first place. What a great team to watch and follow this year."

Alford emphasized how much New Mexico had improved after early conference losses to UNLV and SDSU.

"We have improved in the toughness area," said Alford. "We have a high ceiling and we can get better and we're going to get better. We have a lot of weapons, in our starters and off the bench."

With it's "13 Days of Hell" now complete, UNM will now look forward to hosting Wyoming at The Pit next Saturday. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. in The Pit. The Cowboys defeated 13th-ranked UNLV 68-66 in Laramie this afternoon.

"We know how good Wyoming is," said Alford. "They just beat UNLV (in Laramie) and they'll have a lot of confidence. That game Saturday in The Pit will be a war."

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