Simons heats up from 3, New Mexico romps past Omaha, 103-71
By GLEN ROSALES
Nov. 15, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Troy Simons came off the bench to score 24 points, including 10 during a decisive second-half run Tuesday to help New Mexico beat a pesky Omaha squad 103-71.
Antino Jackson added 19 points, including five 3-pointers, for the Lobos (2-0) and Sam Logwood chipped in 18 points.
Simons hit five of those, including two in the midst of a 29-4 surge that sent New Mexico to a 92-61 lead.
"My teammates had a lot of confidence in me," Simons said. "They told me to shoot the ball more in the second half. And they were finding me when I was open."
Mitchell Hahn scored 16 points for the Mavericks (0-3), with 12 of those coming in the first half.
New Mexico took its biggest first-half lead at 19-9 when Simons hit a 3-pointer to cap a 7-2 run, but the Mavericks responded with a 17-5 surge to take their only lead of the game at 26-24.
"Challenging first half," New Mexico coach Paul Weir said. "We talked at halftime about our defensive energy coming off our offense, which happened to be 4-for-20 on the 3. We weren't making a lot of shots and it impacted our defense on the other end."
Simons, however, put New Mexico right back on top with another 3.
Lobos began to pull away on the strength of its outside shooting, going 13-for-19 from afar in the second half.
"Once we saw they were getting tired, we just put our foot on their throats and we kept it moving," Simons said. "Once we saw a couple of bad turnovers, we knew we got them where we want them."
Until Simons got hot, Omaha was hanging around with the deficit hovering in the single digits before the 3-point show started.
"For 25 minutes I was really happy with our game but when our best player goes out, we really had to mess with some rotations, things we're not used to so we got a little discombobulated," Mavericks coach Derrin Hansen said. "Then when they started getting some tips and steals with the press and then they made the 3s, the jump shots - I knew coming in that if they made their jump shots it would be a long night and it was."
BIG PICTURE: This was New Mexico's second straight game topping 100 points after not having reached that mark since the beginning of the 2013-14 season. The Lobos have not had consecutive triple-digit outings since the 1998-99 season.
Defense appears to be an issue for the Mavericks, who have now allowed 100 points in back-to-back games after Oklahoma scored 108 on Sunday.
INURIES: Hahn only played four minutes in the second half after suffering a shoulder injury, Hansen said.
New Mexico post Connor MacDougall missed his second game with an ankle injury but has begun to practice and should return to the court soon, Weir said.
UP NEXT: New Mexico heads south Friday to face in-state rival New Mexico State, where Weir was last season.
The Mavericks continue a four-game road trip, meeting No. 16 Louisville on Friday.