New Mexico Falls to UTEP, 66-63
Lobos lose a close one in the Don Haskins Center
Missed free throws throughout for New Mexico were ultimately the difference in a close one
Daryl Edwards finished with 18 points and four assists and the UTEP Miners defeated the New Mexico Lobos on Tuesday at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, 66-63.
The Miners got out to a quick start, leading 10-1 early, while the Lobos didn’t hit their first field goal until the 12:57 mark of the first half. The first four points for New Mexico were from the foul line, which is where nearly a third of the Lobos’ scoring came.
A test for New Mexico, the Miners’ defense caused issues especially around the rim, where layups and short jumpers just weren’t falling, resulting in a season-low shooting percentage of 38.8%.
After tying things up 10-10, the game stayed close through the first half, ending with a layup by Efe Odigie to knot the game at 30 apiece. The game stayed within a single possession through much of the second half, including the final minutes of the contest.
Up 62-58, UTEP’s Jordan Lathon was called for a technical foul, sending JaQuan Lyle to the free throw line where he made both, closing the gap to 62-60. A UTEP turnover and foul against the Miners led to a split pair of free throws from JaQuan Lyle and a missed UTEP three pointer allowed for a transition dunk by New Mexico’s Zane Martin, giving the Lobos a 63-62 advantage with just 53 seconds remaining.
But Lathon quickly made up for his previous mistakes with what would be a dagger of a jumper, putting the Miners back up by one.
A missed three-pointer by New Mexico’s Makuach Maluach followed by a foul and two made free throws by Bryson Williams secured the game for UTEP, despite JaQuan Lyle‘s made (but just a fraction of a second late) half court heave.
New Mexico will stay on the road and head to Las Cruces, New Mexico to take on an injury riddled New Mexico State, which has come out to a rocky start of the season after taking final four contender Auburn to the wire in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Notable Team Stats:
The Lobos out-rebounded the Miners by a 36-31 margin, but were far less efficient offensively than they had been to start the season, shooting ten percent or more below average in about every statistical category (free throws, three point percentage, field goal percentage).
Had New Mexico shot its season average in free throws (74.8%), it would have resulted in three more points, enough to push the game into overtime, or to have prevented the need to foul and instead to have been the team being fouled. The Lobos also posted a season low in assists, tallying only 7 assists in the game.
Although UTEP shot just over a third of the free throws the New Mexico did, the Miners made 84.6% of their freebies, compared with 64.5% mark for the Lobos. The Miners also shared the ball a little better than the Lobos, finishing with 14 assists.
UTEP – Daryl Edwards (18 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds)