New Mexico wins first game at Utah since 1989, 72-71

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—J.R. Giddens scored 19 points, including one of three straight 3-pointers down the stretch as New Mexico pulled ahead and then held on for a 72-71 win over Utah on Saturday.

The Lobos (22-6, 9-5 Mountain West) snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Utes at the Hunstman Center, dating to 1989.

Chad Toppert and Jamal Smith also hit 3-pointers during a late 11-2 run for the Lobos, mostly while Utah’s Luke Nevill was on the bench after picking up his fourth foul. By the time Nevill returned for the final 1:49, the Utes (15-10, 6-6) trailed 63-59 and never recovered.

The Lobos led 72-69 with 8.8 seconds left after Dairese Gary missed the second of two free throws and Utah’s Shaun Green got the rebound. The Utes rushed downcourt, but Tyler Kepkay drove for a layup instead of taking a 3-pointer, which could have tied it. Kepkay missed the layup and put back his own rebound as the horn sounded with the Lobos holding the 1-point edge.

Smith finished with 17 points, including 8 of 10 free throws in the final 1:11 as the Lobos extended their season-long winning streak to six games. Darren Prentice added 10 points for New Mexico.

Johnnie Bryant scored 17 points for the Utes, including a steal and 3-pointer with 15.6 seconds left that allowed the Utes to make it close. Nevill added 16 points and five rebounds.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 New Mexico
J.R. Giddens J.R. Giddens
9-19,  19 Pts
7 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Utah
Luke Nevill Luke Nevill
6-7,  16 Pts
5 Rebs, 2 Assists

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Saturday, Feb 23