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No. 15 N.Mexico 77, N.Mexico St. 66

January 2, 1999

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Kenny Thomas, unstoppable and intimidating inside, scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds Saturday as No. 15 New Mexico beat New Mexico State 77-66.

New Mexico (12-1) is 7-0 against the Aggies in Thomas’ three-plus seasons in Albuquerque. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound senior center was ineligible the first semester this season and has been on a tear since his return. In seven games, he is averaging 20 points and 11.3 rebounds with four double-doubles.

Against the shorter Aggies, Thomas also had a team-high six assists, four blocks and three steals.

New Mexico State (7-5) had no one to match up with Thomas and had to rely on the 3-point shooting of guards Eric Channing and Billy Keys. Channing hit 7 3s and scored 25 points, while Keys had 3 3-pointers and 16 points.

With Lamont Long, the Lobos’ second-leading scorer sidelined with a bruised left calf, New Mexico turned to little-used Roland Hannah. He responded with a season-high 11 points, including a steal and spinning bank shot with 39 seconds left for the Lobos’ final points.

New Mexico pulled away from a 50-45 lead with 11 straight points midway through the second half. Five Lobos scored in the run, with Hannah’s two free throws starting it with 12:01 left and a 3-pointer by John Robinson finishing it at the 8:38 mark.

A 10-foot jumper by Robinson gave New Mexico the lead for good at 14-12 with 12:49 left in the opening half. New Mexico also benefited from the free throw line as the Lobos were 14-of-15 in the first half and 25-of-29 for the game.

New Mexico State shot just 12 free throws and missed seven of nine in the second half.

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