New Mexico pulls away from UH


POSTED: Saturday, November 28, 2009

Law of averages.

Hawaii held down potent New Mexico for 20 minutes, then watched as the Lobos came unleashed offensively in an 83-71 UNM victory last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 4,015 saw another former Western Athletic Conference foe go on a 25-4 run to open the second half, turning a one-point Rainbow Warriors halftime advantage into a commanding lead UNM did not relinquish.

The unbeaten Lobos (6-0) got eight points from forward Darington Hobson to key the run, and UNM followed by raining death from deep with its slash-and-kick game to pull away.

“;I thought they came out knowing, if you look at the trend how we played the last three games, we've given up big runs at halves,”; UH coach Bob Nash said. “;They came out on fire.”;

UH mustered a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 12 with 7 minutes, 13 seconds left, but Hobson countered with a three-point play with 4:22 to go to reassert control for his team.

By the time the Rainbows got that close again with some baskets by Jeremy Lay—who poured in a career-high 26 off the bench—it was too late to prevent a three-game losing streak.

“;I don't care about the statistics. Losing is losing,”; Lay said. “;We talked about in the locker room about not coming out flat. We came out flat, and we didn't play any defense, and that allowed them to go on a run. We can't keep playing from behind ... we should come with that intensity immediately, instead of playing down and trying to fight back.”;

It took UH (2-3) more than 5 minutes to get its first basket after intermission, too long a drought to hang with one of the Mountain West Conference's elite.

BYU punished UH with a huge turnover advantage last week, but it was the backboards that did the hosts in this time. The Rainbows yielded 22 offensive rebounds for disadvantages of 44-26 in points in the paint and 27-11 in second-chance points. It added up to a loss from a WAC-turned-MWC school on consecutive Fridays.

Petras Balocka grabbed 16 rebounds, the most by a UH player since Chris Botez five years ago, but UH was still outrebounded for the first time this season.

And UH was without another key component. Junior guard Dwain Williams was conspicuously absent on the team's bench after missing practice all week. Nash said after the game that Williams was suspended for two games for a violation of team rules this week, meaning he won't make the trip to UC Irvine for the Rainbows' next game on Wednesday. But he will return to practices, the coach added.

“;He has some class stuff to take care of,”; Nash said.

Senior swingman Adhar Mayen stepped into the starting lineup, but it was Lay off the bench who kept the Rainbows in it early with 11 first-half points.

He didn't get enough help. Roderick Flemings was held to a season-low four points, and Hiram Thompson was the only other player in double figures with 15.

Only 11 players suited up for UH, with forward Bill Amis still out indefinitely with a foot injury and center Douglas Kurtz ineligible for one more game.

The Rainbows were just outmanned in the first half. In the second period, they were outgunned, too.

Hobson put up 21 points on 10-for-19 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Roman Martinez added 19 and A.J. Hardeman and Phillip McDonald added 10 apiece. UNM shot 57.1 percent in the second half to meet its 82 points-per-game average.

“;The difference was the way Darington and Phillip prepared for the second half,”; said Lobos coach Steve Alford, who emerged victorious in both Honolulu meetings with UH since 2007. “;It was demeanor. (Darington) was a lot more focused.”;

UNM came in shooting 41 percent on 3-pointers, but missed its first eight from deep. Open looks in the drive-and-kick game eventually paid off, though, and the Lobos shot 5-for-10 on treys in the second half.

Lay ignited the Rainbows in the first half with his shooting and defensive hustle. The junior hit two 3-pointers off the bench and gave UH a 36-35 halftime lead when he poked the ball away from UNM's Jamal Fenton, got fouled, and hit two free throws. About the only thing he put up that didn't go in was his three-quarter court heave at the halftime buzzer.



Lobos (6-0)
TEAM  3    
Rainbow Warriors (2-3)
TEAM  2    

Key— fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime— Hawaii 36, New Mexico 35
3-point goals— UNM 8-23 (Fenton 1-1, Garth 1-2, McDonald 2-5, Martinez 4-11, Dennis 0-2, Hobson 0-2), Hawaii 7-18 (Lay 4-8, Thompson 3-7, Balocka 0-1, Flemings 0-1, Mayen 0-1).
Steals— UNM 7 (Gary 2, Martinez 2, Garth, Hardeman, Hobson), Hawaii 6 (Lay 3, Thompson 2, Adams). Blocked shots— UNM 1 (Hardeman), Hawaii 3 (Campbell 2, Flemings).
Officials— Mike Reed, Rick Bastell, Shawn Lehigh. A—4,015.