New Mexico 79, New Mexico St. 76
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)—J.R. Giddens scored 19 points, Aaron Johnson grabbed 14 rebounds and Darren Prentice hit plenty of clutch shots in unbeaten New Mexico’s 79-76 win over New Mexico State on Tuesday night.
New Mexico (5-0) led by 16 points late in the first half, then had to hold off a tenacious rally by the Aggies (1-3).
New Mexico State missed three 3-point shots in the final 19 seconds. The Aggies also hurt themselves at the free throw line, where they missed 12 free throws in the second half and hit just 12 of 28 in the game.
Center Martin Iti led the Aggies’ futility at the foul line, missing all eight free throws he took, six of them in the second half.
Still the Aggies, who got 23 points from Justin Hawkins and 15 points from reserve guard Ted Knauber on five 3-pointers, had a chance to at least force overtime.
Freshman point guard Jamaal Smith hit two free throws to give New Mexico a 79-76 lead with 22.1 seconds remaining.
The Aggies took a time-out, then freed up Fred Peete for a 3 from the right side that missed. The Aggies rebounded the miss and Hawkins misfired on a 3-pointer from the left baseline.
Giddens was fouled with 5.7 seconds remaining, but he missed both free throws. With the clock winding down, Aggie freshman Jonathan Gibson put up a 3-pointer that was long as the buzzer sounded.
New Mexico led through most of the game and built a 44-28 lead with 29 seconds left in the first half on the shooting of Tony Danridge and Prentice.
Danridge scored 11 straight points in one stretch and by halftime had matched his career high of 15 points. He was 7-for-7 in the first half but took just two shots in the second half.
Prentice matched his career-high with 16 points and hit 5 of 6 shots and had 3 3-pointers. His two free throws with 2:19 remaining gave New Mexico a 75-71 lead and after Giddens hit a 12-footer, the Lobos led 77-71 with a minute left.
But the Aggies weren’t done.
Hawkins hit a 3 with 41.7 seconds left and Iti a layup with 22.6 seconds remaining to get the Aggies within 77-76.
Johnson finished with a double-double by scoring 10 points.