The University of New Mexico won their 13th in a row yesterday after beating the BYU 83-81 in Provo. With the win, the Lobos clinched a share of the Mountain West regular season title, with only TCU remaining on their schedule.
It was the usual suspects for the Lobos, the trio of Darington Hobson, Dairese Gary and Roman Martinez who led the Lobos to victory. Hobson had another double-double (his 11th of the year) while fellow Mountain West POY contender Jimmer Fredette spent the second half on the bench with a stomach ailment.
Hobson had 20 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in the game, but made a key block at the end to seal the victory for the Lobos. Martinez added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Dairese Gary led all scorers with 23 points to go along with six assists.
In Fredette’s absence, sophomore guard Michael Loyd Jr. stepped in to have a phenomenal second half and ended with 19 points for the game. Loyd played with a lot of energy, against a Lobo team who starting getting tired in the second half. The more Jimmer’s absence is discussed, the less Loyd is credited with a great performance against a good team. UNM fans will be weary of Loyd when he replaces Jimmer once again the year after next, when Fredette is graduated.
BYU is one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the nation, but struggled in the second half to get their shots to fall. The Cougars were 28.6% for the game, a far cry from the 41.9% they have averaged for the season.
New Mexico, on the other hand, shot 43.5% from behind the arc, one of their best percentages of the year. The other key for New Mexico was, as expected, rebounding. The Lobos outrebounded the Cougars by 11, and had a total of 13 offensive boards.
With the conference season coming to a close, individual conference accolades become a hot topic. It is clear that Fredette and Hobson will make the first team, but were do other key players fall? Roman is the Lobo leader, a great shooter and a good rebounder, but Lobo fans know they would not be anywhere near where they are now without Dairese Gary. The Most recent edition of ESPN The Magazine quotes an unidentified Mountain West coach as saying “Dairese Gary is the most underrated player in the country.”