BYU survives shaky first half to hold off New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Trent Plaisted scored 23 points, hitting two big free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining in overtime as BYU (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) survived a shaky first half to beat New Mexico 70-69 on Tuesday night.

Plaisted, held to six points in the first half, was fouled as time ran down but calmly stepped to the line and made the first attempt to tie it at 69 and, after a New Mexico timeout, made the next for a 70-69 lead.

Lee Cummard added 14 points for BYU (22-6, 11-2), which maintained its Mountain West lead and got back on track three nights after seeing a nine-game winning streak end with a 69-65 loss at San Diego State.

The ending featured some confusion and controversy.

New Mexico's Jamaal Smith raced downcourt and got an errant 12-footer airborne. It bounced off the backboard and then the horn sounded. BYU players celebrated, but officials converged to view a television replay.

They decided the ball had touched a BYU player before the horn and put 0.1 seconds back on the clock. That allowed New Mexico to try an inbound play to score, but J.R. Giddens missed a catch-and-shoot attempt in the lane.

Giddens scored 30 points and had seven rebounds for the Lobos (22-7, 9-5), who had their six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 15-2 at home this season.

New Mexico seemed to have control when Dairese Gary made two free throws for a 69-66 lead with 1:06 to play in overtime, but BYU's Sam Burgess answered with two of his own free throws to pull the Cougars to 69-68 with 57.1 seconds to go.

Each team missed a chance to win it at the end of regulation, with Gary's runner off the mark, and Fredette unable to make a 55-footer at the horn.

New Mexico led 49-49 with 8 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation when Roman Martinez hit a 3-pointer to bring the capacity crowd of 18,018 to full cheer. After a timeout, freshman Jonathan Wills added another 3-pointer to push the lead to 55-48.

Plaisted scored for BYU but Gary came away with a loose ball to start a fastbreak, which Martinez capped with a basket and a foul. He made the ensuing free throw, and the Lobos led 58-50 with 6:25 to go.

BYU wouldn't quit, though, and the Cougars tied it at 58 with 3:01 on the clock. Plaisted scored three baskets inside, Chris Collinsworth made a free throw and Cummard swished a 3-pointer, forcing a New Mexico timeout.