Lobos surge to beat San Diego State
ALBUQUERQUE — Just when it seems safe to throw dirt on the Lobos, the team everyone expected to see all along shows up and blows someone’s doors off.
Behind a career night from sophomore point guard Keith McGee, the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team used a 16-0 run early in the second half to pull away from San Diego State en route to a 83-70 win in a nationally televised game Tuesday night in The Pit.
McGee matched his career high with 14 points in the first half, then topped it early in the second half as he finished with 19. He is averaging 12 points in his last five games.
The Lobos (10-12 overall, 4-6 Mountain West) snapped a modest three-game losing streak and avenged an ugly 20-point loss to the Aztecs in San Diego three weeks ago. They entered Tuesday’s game having lost six of seven to drop all the way to ninth place in the Mountain West Conference.
It was a game of runs. There were six different spans where the teams exchanged scoring streaks of at least seven unanswered points. San Diego State (13-9, 5-4) used a 13-0 run to seize what was then an 11-point lead late in the first half before the Lobos battled back to get within 37-36 at halftime.
UNM’s largest lead was 20 with eight minutes left. By then, Anthony Mathis had heated up by hitting three 3-pointers and Carlton Bragg clearing space on the glass. He finished with eight points and 11 rebounds, giving him 44 boards in his last four games.
Mathis has scored 33 points in his last two home games, all of them coming in the second half.
A pair of Mathis free throws at the 17:41 mark of the second half against the Aztecs gave New Mexico the lead for good. He finished with 17 points while Makuach Maluach had 11 and freshman point guard Drue Drinnon had eight.
The Lobos head to No. 5 Nevada on Saturday, a rematch of the Jan. 5 game in The Pit in which UNM handed the Wolf Pack their only loss.
Former AD may be in hot water: The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General contacted local media members Tuesday afternoon to say an announcement on former UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs was forthcoming. It never happened. A spokesperson said documents could not be filed at Metropolitan Court by day’s end and that the announcement would come Wednesday.
Officials at UNM claimed Tuesday night to be unaware of the details, but just as Tuesday’s UNM-San Diego State men’s game reached halftime the watchdog website NMFishbowl.com reported it had multiple sources saying Krebs was to be indicted Wednesday on charges related to the ill-fated Scotland golfing trip in 2015.
So that’s what it’s like: UNM’s Vladimir Pinchuk got his first made basket in four weeks with a tip-in off a Mathis missed 3-pointer with a minute left in the first half of Tuesday’s game. He hadn’t hit a shot from the field since the Jan. 8 home loss against UNLV.
He hasn’t actually had a made shot in a true road game since the Dec. 1 visit to Bradley.