New Mexico (21-6, 8-4 Mountain West), which led 27-25 at
halftime, took control of the game in the first five minutes of the
second half with a 17-4 run to increase its lead to 44-29.
The Lobos were hot in the second half, hitting 60.7 percent (17
of 28) of their field goal attempts. They have now won seven of
their last eight games.
"I like the way we're playing," New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay
New Mexico ended No. 13 Utah's 18-game winning streak on Monday
by beating the Utes 65-54 in The Pit. That win in Albuquerque, said
New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay, boosted the Lobos' confidence on
the road, where they've had trouble winning in recent years.
"The confidence of playing in that place (The Pit) has jumped
out into the road," McKay said.
David Chiotti scored two inside baskets to start the decisive
run and New Mexico made three 3-pointers, including one by Troy
DeVries to cap the run at the 15:19 mark.
San Diego State (10-15, 4-8) cut the lead to 63-55 with 4:45
remaining on Brandon Heath's steal and layup. But Alfred Neale and
Granger hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to put New Mexico
Walters made 8 of 12 shots to lead a balanced attack. With 24
points in the win over Utah, Walters had his first back-to-back
20-point games in his career.
"He's tough, big and strong at the point. He's a tough
matchup," McKay said of Walters, who ran the Lobos' offense from
the point guard spot much of the night.
Chiotti scored 14 points and DeVries added 13.
Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter each scored 13 points to lead
the Aztecs, who lost their fourth straight game.
Slaughter, who only played five minutes in the second half due
to a sprained left big toe, dominated the opening minutes of the
game, going 5-for-6 from the field and scoring all of San Diego
State's points as it opened an 11-4 lead in the first five minutes
of the game.
But the Aztecs then went more than 14 minutes with just one
field goal before scoring two baskets in the final minute,
including Chris Manker's jumper at the halftime buzzer.
"That was a detriment to their cause," McKay said of
Slaughter's injury. "Offensively, he was really effective for
them. His going out of the game had an impact certainly."
New Mexico changed defenses and San Diego State struggled to
score consistently, especially in the first half, when the Aztecs
hit just 8 of 24 shots.
"We wanted to keep them from getting into a rhythm," McKay
said. "I didn't think we played with a great sense of urgency in
the zone. But it was a good win for our guys. You don't see too
many teams win on the road in conference games at this time of the
New Mexico plays UNLV in Las Vegas on Monday night.