New Mexico comes back to beat UTEP 84-78
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Anthony Mathis hit all four of his 3-pointers in the second half to spark New Mexico to an 84-78, comeback victory over UTEP on Saturday.
Mathis finished with 18 points, 16 in the second half, and Vance Jackson came off the bench to add 12, nine in the second half, for the Lobos (3-1), while Makuach Maluach had 13 points before fouling out.
Evan Gilyard scored 22 for UTEP (2-3) and Paul Thomas added 16 before fouling out with 7:47 left.
“I’d be lying if I said I loved where we’re at,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said. “But we’re winning and this is a game that a year ago we would have lost so there is growth in that regard and hopefully we’ll continue to grow as the season progresses.”
After missing their first eight shots, not scoring until the 12:23 mark and starting out 1-for-13, the Lobos fell behind 14-3 early.
“We were just rushed and we weren’t finishing,” Weir said. “Toward the end of the game we were finally coming to stops and finishing properly. And it was better. But for the first 30 some-odd minutes, they really had us sped up and we were just rushing a lot of things around the rim.”
New Mexico would not get its first lead until Mathis hit consecutive 3-pointers within 19 seconds of each other midway through the second half to go up 55-53.
Although the Lobos never relinquished the lead, it was tied twice over the ensuing minutes before New Mexico went on an 8-1 run capped by another Mathis 3-pointer at the 6:29 mark.
“I thought we showed some resistance, more so than we have earlier in the season,” said Miners coach Rodney Terry. “When they made a run, we stood our ground and kept trying to execute and run our game and put ourselves in position to have an opportunity at the end.”
New Mexico won’t return home again until Dec. 11, with games upcoming at downstate rival New Mexico State, which won the teams’ earlier meeting, and a neutral game against Saint Mary’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Los Angeles.
Although the Miners have two wins on the season, both have come against D-II schools; Texas-Permian Basin and Eastern New Mexico. Against their first two D-I opponents, the Miners lost by a combined 60 points.
Mathis has had four made four 3-pointers and four fouls in all four games this season.
Terry is quite familiar with the Pit, coming in here frequently while head coach of Fresno State, going 1-4.
New Mexico plays at Bradley on Dec. 1 as part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge.
UTEP next has a return engagement at home with local rival New Mexico State on Nov. 28. The Aggies won the season’s first meeting 96-69 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.