New Mexicon withstands wild finish to beat UNLV 91-90
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Makuach Maluach’s 3-pointer with 17.5 seconds put New Mexico up for good and three UNLV shots in the closing seconds bounced on and around the rim, but none fell as the Lobos held on for a 91-90 win Sunday.
Jordan Johnson scored 25 points to equal a career high for the Rebels, and he added nine assists and six rebounds.
“It was a really, unusual game I thought,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said. “UNLV played a very good basketball game. We missed a lot of stuff. A lot of layup around the rim. A lot of loose balls ended up in their hands. It seemed like we couldn’t catch a break in that second half. But fortunately we were able to close the game and come out with a big win.”
Maluach finished with 13 points — 11 in the second half — and was one of five New Mexico (15-14, 10-6 Mountain West) players in double figures. Anthony Mathis had 18 points, including three 3-pointers in the second half, and Sam Logwood added 17 with 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Maluach tied the game for the Lobos with a drive down the lane with 44 seconds left before Jovan Mooring hit 2 of 3 foul shots with 30.7 left to put the Rebels (19-10, 8-8) back up two.
“And that I think that opened up the 3-point shot in the next play,” Weir said of Maluach’s game-winner.
Kris Clyburn missed an open 3 with four seconds left, Mooring’s tip rolled off the rim then Brandon McCoy’s put-back onto the rim bounced twice and fell off.
“We drew up what happened,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said of the final play. “We didn’t get the ball to go down, I thought we had a great offensive rebound effort. There may have been some contact on that put back effort. But it wasn’t called, so. .”
UNLV remains in seventh place in the conference standings
The win leaves New Mexico tied for third with Fresno State.
The coaches worked together for nine years at New Mexico State, where Menzies was head coach and Weir his top assistant. Weir was the Aggies coach for one season before taking the Lobos’ helm this season.
“I’m really proud of my guy Paul,” Menzies said. “He’s done a fantastic job here in a short amount of time. He had some returners, some good guys that came back and sprinkled in a few new guys. They’re playing hard and are really doing a good job.”
FOUL: McCoy, UNLV’s leading scorer and rebounder, picked up his second foul nine minutes into the first half and didn’t play again until starting the second half. He played five minutes and finished with three points and two boards before the break. He finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
UNLV hosts conference front-runner No. 20 Nevada on Wednesday and finishes up Saturday at Utah State.
New Mexico is at Colorado State on Wednesday then finishes up the regular season at home Saturday against Fresno State in a game that likely will determine the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament.