AP/ABQ Journal Jim Thompson
The Lobos were the epitome of a team on Saturday night in The Pit in their 82-64 victory over Colorado State. All 10 Lobos had at least 5 points and 2 rebounds, with 8 of the 10 players getting at least one assist as well. Sure Dairese Gary hogged all of the free-throws, but when a guy is 10-10 from the line you can’t blame him, especially on a poor free-throw shooting team.
The first half started off closely before the Lobos blew the doors opens with a 14-0 run. The second half was slow-paced and riddled with interesting officiating, leading to many a fans’ early departure. Lobo fans knew Colorado State couldn’t come back down by 20 in the waning minutes, a fact that CSU coach Tim Miles refused to believe. What the people who left early didn’t know is that Dairese Gary would steal the ball and throw down a one-handed slam to seal the victory, a play well worth waiting in traffic for.
The key to New Mexico’s victory was rebounding. With the Lobos bringing down 48 boards to the Rams’ 30, there were plenty of opportunities for extra points, which New Mexico took advantage of. An offensive rebound is one of the best plays you can have as it allows for a second opportunity, often closer to the basket. The Lobos had 17 offensive boards to CSU’s 5.
New Mexico gets BYU at home on Wednesday, after the Cougars won a close game at San Diego State. The Aztecs couldn’t go shot for shot with BYU, but proved that their weakness is rebounding. SDSU out-rebounded BYU and only lost by 2 points, while another time BYU was outrebounded this season was their only loss at Utah State. This will be a key game for New Mexico who has conference championship aspirations, but will nonetheless be a tough matchup, or as Steve Alford alluded to on 770 KKOB’s post game show, a Red Blazer matchup.