LAS VEGAS -- Roman Martinez and the New Mexico Lobos (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) pushed aside UNLV (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) for their school-record fifth victory of the season over a ranked opponent.
Martinez scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers, in New Mexico's 76-66 victory over UNLV on Wednesday night."We're playing really great basketball," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. "We've been a great road team all year. This is the best environment we've played in all season long."Darington Hobson also scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds for New Mexico (22-3, 8-2 Mountain West). Dairese Gary added 15 points, and Phillip McDonald had 13 for the Lobos, who were 11 of 21 from 3-point range and had a 45-23 rebounding advantage.Oscar Bellfield led UNLV (19-5, 7-3) with 15 points, Tre'Von Willis had 13 points and 10 assists, and Matt Shaw added 12 points. The Rebels were 10 of 30 from 3-point range.The Lobos avenged a 74-62 loss to UNLV in Albuquerque."Back in New Mexico, we played better," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "They took some of that energy away tonight. They had a good start tonight. They played well throughout both halves. We got it down to two, but we couldn't quite get over the hump. We have to play that way for longer periods of time."Martinez made three 3-pointers in the first 4:58 of the second half and helped stake the Lobos to a 54-38 lead. The Lobos led by 18 points, 61-43, following McDonald's 3-pointer with 11:42 left.UNLV used a 20-4 run to cut it to 65-63 with 3:39 left. Willis had seven points, and Bellfield six during the run. New Mexico, though, responded with an 11-3 run to close out the game. Gary scored the final four points of the game on free throws."We couldn't match their intensity," Bellfield said. "We didn't have as good a start as we did against BYU. Their intensity attacking the boards ... that made the difference tonight. In the second half we were down and tried to fight our way back to the top. We just couldn't pull it out."