No. 5 Utah 65, No. 16 New Mexico 55
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Hanno Mottola scored 18 points as fifth-ranked Utah beat No. 16 New Mexico 65-55 in a Saturday night showdown for the Western Athletic Conference’s Mountain Division title.
The victory also gave the Utes (25-2 overall, 12-2 WAC) one of the No. 1 seeds in next week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas.
Michael Doleac scored 15 points, Andre Miller 14 and Alex Jensen added 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Utes won their fifth straight game and 21st in a row at home.
New Mexico (21-6, 11-3) was led by Lamont Long’s 15 points. Kenny Thomas scored 14, while Ben Baum and Clayton Shields added 10 each as the Lobos lost their third straight.
With Utah ahead 43-38 with 12:32 to play, Miller had four points in a 9-2 run that gave the Utes a 52-40 advantage. Miller’s layup with 9:15 remaining made it 52-40.
The closest the Lobos could get after that was seven points.
New Mexico played without injured guard Royce Olney, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the Lobos’ 77-74 win over Utah in Albuquerque Feb. 1. Saturday night, Lobos coach Dave Bliss used with just six players.
The Utes held New Mexico to 40 percent shooting, including just 12-of-33 inside the 3-point arc. The Utes made half their shots (25-of-50) and converted 58 percent in the second half.
In the first half, Utah dominated inside and led 25-12 when Mottola hit a baseline jumper with 5:15 left.
Utah led 29-25 at halftime behind 10 points from Mottola. The Utes held New Mexico to just one basket inside, but the Lobos stayed close with 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.