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New Mexico outlasts Boise State in OT

The SportsXchange

BOISE, Idaho -- New Mexico sophomore point guard Hugh Greenwood missed the Lobos men's basketball team's shootaround, walk-through and pregame meal Wednesday with a stomach bug. He didn't miss the game-tying shot.

Greenwood drove to the basket with 55 seconds left in regulation for a layup that forced overtime and No. 19 New Mexico pulled away from Boise State in the extra session for a 79-74 victory.

The Lobos improved to 16-2 overall and 3-0 in the Mountain West. The Broncos, who had won seven straight, dropped to 13-3, 1-1.

"You have to give Hugh a lot of credit," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said, adding that Greenwood vomited periodically from about 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. "And I think our team feeds off that kind of toughness, I really do. This was a really good basketball team. It's the fourth time this year where we've gone on the road to an undefeated place and won, so that tells you the toughness and fight that our guys have. This was a great win for us."

Boise State, which has beaten two ranked teams on the road, led by nine points in the first half, six in the second half and one in the first minute of overtime.

Sophomore guard Derrick Marks scored a game-high 27 points but missed a pull-up jumper on a botched play on the Broncos' final possession of regulation.

Junior center Ryan Watkins scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and neutralized New Mexico's height advantage but fouled out with two fouls in the first 90 seconds of overtime.

"We're getting better, but this year, we have to come through," Watkins said. "These are challenges. If we want to be the team we want to be, we have to win games like this."

The Lobos won despite shooting a dreadful 34.6 percent in the second half. They made four of their last six shots in regulation and shot 60 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line in overtime.

Greenwood might have hit the most important shot -- a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime for a five-point lead moments after he secured a long rebound. Junior guard Tony Snell led the Lobos with 22 points.

"That's been the theme all year -- we've made shots when we've needed to," said Greenwood, who scored 15 points. "We haven't shot the ball really, really well. That's the exciting part. If this team can make shots, we're going to be really dangerous."

New Mexico also has won this year at Indiana State, New Mexico State and Cincinnati.

Wednesday's victory was more important, because road wins in the Mountain West are like breaking serve in a tennis match. "This conference is hard to play at their house," Snell said, "so it was a big-time win."

Boise State scored the first four points during a sloppy start to the second half to take a 41-37 lead. New Mexico quickly answered -- preventing the Broncos from pulling away. At one point, New Mexico senior guard Chad Adams slapped his hands on the floor while waiting for Boise State to bring the ball up the court and shouted, "Let's go." He then stole the ball and led a fast break that tied the score at 45-all with 11:56 to play.

The Broncos moved in front 49-46 with 8:55 left as the Lobos went ice cold from the field. On one possession, two Lobos combined to miss three straight layups or tips. Meanwhile, little-used Boise State center Jake Ness made two free throws and Watkins scored underneath the basket.

Marks extended the lead to 52-46 on a banked-in 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.

New Mexico overcame that deficit thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by senior guard Jamal Fenton, which gave the Lobos a 54-53 edge with 6:23 left. Boise State answered with a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Anthony Drmic off a rebound by sophomore guard Igor Hadziomerovic and a layup by Drmic off a nifty pass from Hadziomerovic. That made it 58-54 with 5:30 to play. New Mexico took a 59-58 lead on a 3-pointer by Snell.

Marks took over for Boise State, hitting a floater for the lead and, after a New Mexico bucket, swishing a 3-pointer to make it 63-61 Broncos. Greenwood took advantage of a Boise State defensive breakdown for his layup with 55 seconds left to tie it. The Broncos decided to run the clock on the ensuing possession but Marks' teammates didn't get his message that he wanted them to clear a path for him. He finally tried to drive and missed a pull-up jumper in traffic.

New Mexico didn't do much better with its possession. Junior guard Kendall Williams dribbled out the clock and clanged a pull-up jumper off the left side of the rim as time expired.

The Broncos used a 12-point surge to build their nine-point lead in the first half, 32-23 with 4:07 left in the half. The Lobos clawed all the way back by halftime, forcing a 37-all tie as the Broncos rested some of their starters in the closing minutes. Fenton's 3-pointer and Williams' three-point play keyed the 14-5 run.

NOTES: Boise State drew a home crowd in excess of 10,000 for the second time this season (10,420) -- a first since 1998-99. ... Broncos backup center Kenny Buckner served the second game of a three-game suspension. Three other players, including leading scorer Derrick Marks, returned from one-game suspensions. ... The Lobos are 4-1 on the road. Those opponents have a combined seven home losses.
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