Jan. 21, 2009
SAN DIEGO -- There were two San Diego State Aztecs the Lobos simply didn't spend enough time guarding - or maybe simply couldn't stop. There were two Lobos that the Aztecs did the same thing with in the final 4:18 - Dairese Gary and Phillip McDonald.
Aztecs Kyle Spain and Lorrenzo Wade combined to score 51 points and were keys to SDSU's 81-76 Mountain West Conference win Wednesday night over the University of New Mexico. But the Lobos almost stole one in San Diego as Gary and McDonald led a furious rally by combining to score UNM's final 18 points.
"You are looking at a freshman (McDonald) and a sophomore (Gary) on the road against a very good opponent and our last 18 points are out of two underclassmen," said Lobo Coach Steve Alford.
The Lobos trailed 64-53 with 7:48 to play, but twice cut the gap to two points: 75-73 with 1:18 to play and 77-75 with 40 seconds left in the game. The Aztecs countered with four free throws and a layup by Wade in the final 50 seconds to hold on to the win.
The loss dropped New Mexico to 11-8 on the year and 2-2 in MWC play. SDSU is 13-4 and 3-1 in league. The Lobos are at TCU on Saturday.
Spain scored a career-high 30 points and added eight rebounds and four assists. Wade had 21 points, going 12-of-15 from the free throw line. UNM got 17 points from McDonald, 14 from Tony Danridge and 10 points from Gary. Freshman Nate Garth came off the bench to chip in nine points and five assists.
SDSU was 28-of-39 from the line and UNM was 23-of-35. "It was an odd game," said Alford. "There were a lot of whistles blown. I've never been a part of a game that had that many fouls. Seventy four free throws were shot in the game. That's a lot.
"It really disrupted our flow in the first half. We had six guys with two fouls in the first half. It's really hard to manage a game. It's hard to figure out sub patterns."
The Lobos jumped to a 16-5 lead at the 13:38 mark of the first half on a Danridge jumper. The Aztecs came back to grab a 23-23 lead at the 7:28 mark. SDSU was up 37-32 at the half. The Lobos never led in the second half, but three times cut SDSU's lead to two points.
"We had a chance. Our press did a lot of good things late." Said Alford. "We're scrambling, making shots, making plays. We have to try and (win) Saturday at TCU. UNLV won at BYU. It's going to be a wild and crazy league and we just have to hang in there and keep getting better."
UNM's Tony Danridge became the 25th member of the Lobos 1,000-point club when he hit a jumper with eight seconds to play in the first half.