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Lobos snap Utes' 18-game winning streak

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- With the shot clock winding down and a
defender in his face, New Mexico guard Mark Walters took a pass
late in the second half and launched a 3-pointer that banked in.

It was that kind of a night for Walters and the Lobos, who ended
Utah's 18-game winning streak with a 65-54 win Monday night.

"I think he gave them the [Michael] Jordan pose after he hit
the bank," said New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay. "He was
phenomenal tonight."

Walters hit 7 of 11 shots, had 9 rebounds and 3 steals as the
Lobos (20-6, 7-4 Mountain West) used tenacious defense and strong
rebounding to win for the sixth time in seven games.

The Utes (23-4, 11-1), who clinched the conference
regular-season title with a victory over Air Force on Saturday,
shot just 37 percent.

Utah (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP), which had the nation's second-longest winning streak
behind top-ranked Illinois, entered the game ranked second in the
nation in field goal percentage (52.8) and third in rebounding
margin.

"They took the fight to us," Utah coach Ray Giacoletti said.
"New Mexico was the aggressor."

Utah center Andrew Bogut, averaging 20.6 points and 11.8
rebounds a game, finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. But he
shot just 3-for-11 in the second half and didn't get many touches
until after the Lobos' lead had reached double digits late in the
second half.

"I had my normal looks, but the shots weren't falling," Bogut
said.

The Utes also didn't have much success on the perimeter, hitting
just 4 of 21 3-pointers.

"We started settling for outside shots," Giacoletti said. "If
those don't go in, we've got problems. That's why we'd want to
establish things inside."

The Utes never did and Giacoletti said The Pit crowd, a
season-high fever pitch, had a lot to do with his team's inability
to get into a flow.

"Everyone needs to be on the same page when you come into a
situation like this," Giacoletti said. "Your players can't hear
you, so you need somebody on the court to take charge."

Danny Granger, New Mexico's leading scorer and rebounder, had 15
points and nine boards, but it was Walters who repeatedly hit the
big shot or came up with a key steal.

Just before his banked 3, Walters hit a layup that started a 7-0
run that gave New Mexico a 56-42 lead with 3:42 left. Much of the
game, the Utes left Walters open and he cashed in his chances.

"I had to take the shot," he said. "I was wide open. I was
feeling pretty good and my teammates kept giving me the ball."

Utah got within 58-51 on a dunk by Justin Hawkins with 1:13
left, but New Mexico sealed it with five free throws and a dunk by
David Chiotti in the final 57 seconds. The 6-foot-9 Chiotti
finished with 10 points, but had just one rebound. It didn't matter
as the Utes, who came in having rebounding opponents by an average
of more than 10 a game, only had one more rebound (36-35).

Walters, who had scored a total of 18 points in the past four
games, set the tempo with a layup 12 seconds into the game. That
basket initiated an 8-0 run that sent The Pit crowd of 17,360 into
a frenzy.

Utah, which had not lost since falling to Arizona 67-62 on Dec.
11, took a 17-15 lead on a 3-pointer by Tim Drisdom with 7:37 left
in the first half.

Walters broke a 24-all tie and put the Lobos in front for good
with a 3-pointer with 1:20 left in the half. New Mexico stretched
the lead to 31-26 after Utah point guard Marc Jackson was called
for an intentional technical foul for shoving New Mexico reserve
Ryan Wall, who had fouled Jackson.

Jackson hit his two free throws and Walters hit one of two foul
shots off the technical on Jackson. New Mexico then got possession
of the ball and reserve Kellen Walter hit a 3-pointer to put the
Lobos up 31-26 at the half.

Granger opened the second half with a 3-pointer and after Bogut
hit a free throw, New Mexico's Alfred Neale scored on an offensive
rebound and Walters hit a pair of free throws.

New Mexico steadily built its lead from there as Utah scored
just one field goal in the first 6½ minutes of the second half.