What's buzzing:
77 -
Team 1 2
FRES 35 42
N MEX 49 44
93

Lobos advance to semis with win over Fresno St

AP - Sports
Lobos advance to semis with win over Fresno St
.

View gallery

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- New Mexico coach Craig Neal wasn't about to let his team slip up in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals.

Despite getting into early foul trouble, Lobos star Cameron Bairstow had 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks to lead No. 20 New Mexico to a 93-77 win over Fresno State on Thursday night.

Using an aggressive defense, dominating the boards and capitalizing on the Bulldogs' mistakes, the second-seeded Lobos built a 16-point lead and extended it to as many as 19 in the second half.

New Mexico (25-6) outrebounded the seventh-seeded Bulldogs 40-25, and outscored Fresno in the paint, 42-20. The Lobos never trailed after opening the game on a 14-3 run.

''I tried to make sure our guys understood the importance of tonight's game,'' Neal said. ''When you get in a tournament of this caliber, this magnitude, every game's a championship game. The unique thing about our team is we've seen every imaginable defense you can see. If it's trapping from big to big, trapping from the guard at the top, trapping from the passer, if we get pressed. We've seen about every press there's been played in college basketball.

''I think our guys have really responded, been really resilient on seeing different looks, responding, making the right plays.''

Bairstow's 7-foot frontcourt-mate Alex Kirk also had 21 points, while Kendall Williams chipped in with 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

''We knew that regardless of how they're going to match up with us, whether the four-man takes Alex, the five man takes me, or vice versa, there was going to be a mismatch down there,'' said Bairstow, who had his 10th-career double-double. ''I think we exploited it for the most part throughout the game. We really did a good job of I think handling the trap in most situations, which a lot of teams have been doing against us. It's different than what we're used to. I think we managed to handle it pretty well.''

Fresno State (17-16) had four players score in double figures, led by Allen Huddleston's 18 points. Alex Davis had 17 points, Paul Watson contributed with 16 and Marvelle Harris added 13.

The Lobos, who won the first meeting in similar fashion, 89-78 on Jan. 18, shot 57 percent from the field - including 61 percent in the second half. The Bulldogs struggled from the field, shooting just 40 percent (25 of 63)

''We played I think one of the better teams in the country today,'' Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said. ''The way they played today in terms of the way they came out with the mindset to start the ballgame, they got off to a really good start. Again, when they're playing at that level between the two big guys inside, you throw Kendall Williams in there who has been one of the better players in our league, Player of the Year at one point in his career - they're a hard team to beat.''

After the Bulldogs came within six, the teams traded baskets until the Lobos used a 15-7 run to close the half and extend their lead to 49-35.

''I thought we had excellent leadership tonight,'' Neal said. ''Really proud of the two-headed monster, Bairstow and Kirk. They're as good as anybody in the country in the paint. I thought Kendall Williams did an outstanding job controlling tempo and guarding Tyler Johnson. He's always done a great job on him and held him to two points, which was key tonight. It's like I told the guys, we win and advance. We're looking forward to the next matchup.

New Mexico, which is now 7-0 all-time as the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West tournament, will face the winner of Thursday's late game between Nevada and Boise State, in a Friday semifinal.

View Comments (2)
  • Wrestler Snuka charged with killing girlfriend in 1983

    By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, a professional wrestling star in the 1980s, was charged on Tuesday with third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 1983 death of his girlfriend, prosecutors said. … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 46 seconds ago
  • Latest on US Open: Murray steady against Kyrgios in win

    Latest on US Open: Murray steady against Kyrgios in win

    Andy Murray was only briefly troubled by Nick Kyrgios in the most-anticipated match of the U.S. Open's first round. The third-seeded Murray, who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2012, hit 18 aces and saved 11 of 14 break points en route to 7-5, … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 35 seconds ago
  • Arencibia, Smyly carry Rays past struggling Orioles 11-2

    Arencibia, Smyly carry Rays past struggling Orioles 11-2

    J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in six runs to back an impressive pitching performance by Drew Smyly, and the Tampa Bay Rays breezed past the free-falling Baltimore Orioles 11-2 Tuesday night. Brandon Guyer had four hits for the Rays, who scored … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 36 seconds ago
  • Nicolino, Bour lead Marlins to 7-1 win over hapless Braves

    Nicolino, Bour lead Marlins to 7-1 win over hapless Braves

    Justin Nicolino pitched seven scoreless innings, Justin Bour hit a three-run homer, and the Miami Marlins beat the hapless Atlanta Braves again, winning 7-1 Tuesday night. Nicolino (3-2) shut down the Braves with help from a pair of double plays. … More »

    AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
  • Games-Martin elected president of Commonwealth Games Federation

    By Greg Stutchbury AUCKLAND, Sept 2 (Reuters) - British sports administrator Louise Martin was elected as the Commonwealth Games Federation's first female President on Wednesday after promising to boost the commercial returns and attract top-class … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago