Dec. 18, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Men's Basketball - All-College Classic - Oklahoma City
Saturday: New Mexico Lobos 66, Oklahoma State Cowboys 56
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The New Mexico Lobos fought back an Oklahoma State rally with a gutsy 14-3 run of their own to post a bruising 66-56 win over the Cowboys Saturday night in the second game of the All-College Classic held in Oklahoma City.
The Lobos (8-2) took control of the first half with tough defense, holding Oklahoma State to 25 percent shooting that helped push UNM to a 10-point halftime lead. UNM seemed willing to guard that lead down the second-half stretch before the Cowboys threw out a rally to pull into a 53-52 lead.
If anything, that Cowboy rally simply woke up the Lobos on both ends of the court as UNM outscored Oklahoma State 14-3 to end the contest.
"This was a big win for us," said Craig Neal, UNM's associate head coach. "That's a team that gets after you and is as athletic as we're going to see. Our guys did an outstanding job. The team grew up a lot tonight."
The Lobos were paced by Kendall Williams with 16 points and Drew Gordon with 13 points and 20 boards. The 20 rebounds nearly broke Wayman Tisdale's tournament record of 22, set back in 1983. Gordon was named to the All-Classic team and he was the Most Valuable Player of the second game of the classic.
"I think Drew has an abundance of ability and tonight was a perfect example of how good he can be," said Neal. "He played at a high level. He stepped up and it was a big stage for him on national TV."
UNM also got double figures from Hugh Greenwood (12 points) and Jamal Fenton (10). "I thought Jamal Fenton played his best game of the year," said Neal. "He was aggressive. He guarded. He pushed the ball and ran the show."
The Lobos had to play down the stretch without Tony Snell, who sat on the bench with an ice pack across the left side of his face. "His eyelid swelled and he couldn't see," said Neal.The Lobos shot 36.1 percent for the game and held OSU to 32.1 percent shooting. UNM won the board battle, 45-41. It was a good ball handling game for the Lobos as they had only eight turnovers against the Cowboys' pressure defense. OSU had 15 turnovers, eight on UNM steals.
The Cowboys came out in the second half with extended pressure trying to change the dynamics of the game. A Cowboy 3-pointer made it 41-33 in UNM's favor before UNM got a bucket inside by A.J. Hardeman to go back up by ten, 43-33. The Lobos carried that lead into the first media break.
Gordon got position inside for an offensive rebound and was fouled trying to score. The 6-9 center made one: 44-33. Oklahoma State then threw out a 7-0 run, fueled by two buckets by Keiton Page. The second jumper convinced Alford to burn a timeout at the 12:42 mark with the score 44-40 with 5:33 to play.
The Cowboys' run wasn't over. They went from down 47-43 and down 52-48 into a 53-52 lead. The Lobos then threw out a 6-0 run to go up 58-53. A Greenwood trey made it 61-55. The Australian freshman then hit a free throw to make it 62-55. Williams added two free throws at 3:55 and UNM drifted up 64-55.
Page had a big miss on a one-and-one and Williams made it hurt even more by banging in two free throws to form a 66-55 UNM lead. The Lobos were on a 14-2 run. The Cowboys missed on offense and UNM came down to get three possessions at the other end thanks to fierce offensive rebounding. The Lobos didn't score on those extra chances, but burned the clock under two minutes.
UNM cruised in for the convincing 10-point win.
First Half - New Mexico Lobos 36, Oklahoma State Cowboys 26
The Lobos used a 12-0 run to pull out of a 21-15 hole and into a 27-21 lead. The Lobos also held Oklahoma State to no field goals over an eight-minute span to help form the 10-point halftime bulge.
The Cowboys went 1-of-15 from the floor down the stretch of the first half and ended shooting 25 percent for the half. UNM shot 41 percent from the floor.
The Lobos got off to a good start with a Gordon dunk followed by a Snell trey to push UNM up 5-2. The Cowboys rallied to take a 7-5 lead into the 16:51 media break. UNM's Snell stole the inbounds pass and got a layup to form a 7-all tie.
The Cowboys used the 3-point line to help them forge a 21-15 lead. The Lobos used an old-fashioned 3-point play by Fenton to draw to 21-20. At the 6:14 mark, Williams drove, scored and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but UNM was up 22-21.
Williams then hit a long trey and UNM had a 25-21 lead. A Hardeman tip let UNM match Oklahoma State's six-point lead and carry a 27-21 lead into the 3:46 media break. UNM was riding a 12-0 run. The Cowboys got a pair of free throws to snap that run and make it 27-23 in UNM's favor.
A Gordon block led to a long Greenwood jumper. Gordon was fouled trying a backward dunk and at 2:46 his free throws made it 31-23. Williams drove the lane and got a bucket on a goal-tending call and then Fenton launched in a trey to push UNM up 36-25. OSU used the free-throw line to close to the 36-26 halftime score.
- New Mexico posted its fifth win this season over a team from a BCS The Lobos also have recorded wins this season over Boston College, Washington State, Arizona State and USC.
- New Mexico (8-2) won its sixth straight game.
Oklahoma State is 8-3 in the All-College Classic since the nation's oldest college basketball event moved to a classic format.
Keiton Page led the Cowboys with 18 points, while Jean-Paul Olukemi scored 16.