NOTE: Loboland.com Editor Dennis Latta will be in Las Vegas, Nev. for the MWC tourney. We feature a 7-day free trial. Don't miss the tournament!!!
They could write a book and title it ``The Lobo System for Winning Basketball Games.''
It wouldn't quite rival War and Peace when it comes to pages. Actually, just a few sentences wrap up the Lobo system.
Let it stay close through the first half and early in the second half. Then go on a run with about 8 minutes or less left to take a lead. Hold onto that lead in the closing minutes and win again.
The Lobos started a 17-0 rally with 8:10 left in the game Wednesday night. They went on to beat Nevada 75-62, took a shower and headed for the bus because that is business as usual.
New Mexico is ranked No. 11 this week and improved its record to 26-4 with the win. UNM has wrapped up the regular-season title and is 13-2 in the league. The impressive part of that is the Lobos' 5-2 road record.
``In the last 10 minutes, our guys just said enough is enough,'' UNM coach Steve Alford said of his team's rally.
Tony Snell had 25 points, which was his highest output in a conference game this season. He was 8-for-11 from the floor and finished with four assists and no turnovers.
But big men Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow were the reason UNM won the game. They both had double-doubles. Bairstow had 10 rebounds and 15 points for his first double-double. They are becoming old hat for Kirk, who finished with 10 rebounds and 11 points.
The Lobos were able to punch the ball inside to them, and that opened up the outside. The Wolf Pack didn't have an answer for UNM's bigs.
``Our bigs are terrific,'' Alford noted. ``I thought they were dominating in the paint. They're good-passing big men. I've seen the development of Cam into and Alex into two outstanding bigs.''
UNM finished with six turnovers, only one in the second half. ``We're taking care of the ball. I'm really proud of this basketball team. We did not need to lose this game. We're going to go through the season with no bad losses.''
The Lobos have one game left in the regular season. Saturday afternoon, they play Air Force in Colorado Springs. If New Mexico could win that game, it would finish with a 14-2 MWC record. That's not too bad for a team that was a preseason pick to finish third in the second-toughest league in the nation.
The MWC Tournament will be held next week in Las Vegas. UNM's first game will be on Wednesday at 7:30 MST against Tuesday's game between the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in the league.