ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)—Roman Martinez has struggled with his shot the past three games.
He found the range when he needed to Friday night, knocking down consecutive 3-pointers to erase Dayton’s only lead as No. 19 New Mexico beat the Flyers 68-66.
“Ro hit two big threes,” Lobos coach Steve Alford said. “Those were big plays.”
Martinez finished with 17 points, but down the stretch, it was Dairese Gary making the plays from the foul line for New Mexico (14-1). He scored 18 points with the final seven coming from the line in the closing 2 minutes.
Chris Johnson led Dayton (10-3) with 21 points, 11 of those in the final minute of play.
Flyers coach Brian Gregory said the 3-pointers from Martinez were key plays.
“He does all the things that he needed to do to help his team win,” he said. “There isn’t a coach in the country that wouldn’t take him.”
The loss snapped Dayton’s eight-game winning streak.
The game was a good one for the teams to prepare them for their respective conference seasons that are approaching.
“I think both programs and teams benefit from games like this,” Gregory said. “We’re going to go into some tough environments over the next two months in our league against some high-quality teams and obviously we need to play better
Darington Hobson added 15 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists for New Mexico.
The Flyers held a brief 37-36 lead early in the second half on London Warren’s breakaway dunk. After another basket, New Mexico quickly answered on consecutive 3-pointers by Martinez.
Neither team really shot well, with New Mexico going 19 for 40 from the field and Dayton hitting a season-worst 21 of 62. The Flyers particularly struggled on 3-pointers, making 8 of 33, which also represented their worst shooting outside shooting this season.
With a poor shooting night overall, Alford said he was happy to come away with a victory.
“I think our team can really gain even more confidence out of this because this was a really, really good basketball team that is well coached,” he said. “So I feel fortunate to get a win.”