(3-1, 1-1 away)

New Mexico St 55

(1-3, 1-2 home)

    10:05 PM ET, November 30, 2005

    Pan American Center, Las Cruces, New Mexico

    1 2 T
    UTEP 23 4164
    NMSU 21 3455

    Top Performers

    UTEP: J. Williams 16 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    New Mexico St: D. Fisher 16 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    UTEP 64, New Mexico State 55

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- In a hard-fought contest between two rivals where every shot was contested and every rebound fought for, it was free throw shooting that made the difference.

    UTEP was 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final 1:36 to hold off New Mexico State 64-55 in non-conference action Wednesday night. UTEP (3-1), which led the entire game, made 13-of-16 free-throw attempts in all.

    "Both teams played extremely hard and this was a difficult win for us," said UTEP coach Doc Sadler. "Our guys played for 40 minutes. New Mexico State made a run at us and we held on and made our free throws."

    The Aggies (1-3) had trouble making their shots. NMSU connected on only 17 of 29 free throws, 17 of 50 shots from the field and only four of 22 3-point attempts.

    Despite the loss, NMSU coach Reggie Theus saw some things in his young team that pleased him.

    "I'm very happy with the way we played tonight," said Theus, in his first year at NMSU. "I'm happy with the way we competed. We're better than a 34-percent shooting team and we're better than an 18-percent 3-point shooting team. But (58 percent) from the line ... I don't know. We missed the front end of three or four one-and-ones."

    The Aggies have struggled from the free throw line in their last two games. After last Saturday's 78-77 overtime loss to Sam Houston State, at least two Aggies stayed after the game and practiced their free throws.

    The Miners scored the first six points, all by forward Jason Williams, who finished as the game's high scorer with 18 points.

    UTEP led by as many as nine points in the first half, but the Aggies fought back and cut the deficit to 21-19 on four free throws by Ted Knauber and Kevin Ford and a 3-pointer by Elijah Ingram. The Miners led 23-21 at halftime.

    UTEP center John Tofi, who was held scoreless in the first half, helped the Miners to a good start in the second half. Tofi, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds, was the focal point of the Miners half-court offense early in the final 20 minutes.

    David Fisher helped the Aggies stay close midway through the second half by scoring 10 straight points in a four-minute stretch. Fisher's scoring flurry helped NMSU close to within one point, 36-35, at the 11:16 mark.

    But Tofi's inside bucket, a driving shot by Edgar Moreno and a pair of 3-pointers by Miguel Ayala pushed UTEP to 46-35 with 8:30 to play.

    The Aggies cut the margin to five twice in the last two minutes before UTEP pulled away by hitting their free throws.

    Ingram, who helped spur the late Aggies rally, led NMSU with 17 points. Fisher scored 16.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 64 55
    FG Made-Attempted 24-53 (.453) 17-50 (.340)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-11 (.273) 4-22 (.182)
    FT Made-Attempted 13-16 (.813) 17-30 (.567)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 0

    2005-06 Season

    » Nov 30, 2005 UTEP 64, @NMSU 55Recap
    Dec 17, 2005 @UTEP 80, NMSU 67Recap