ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico coach Steve Alford expects strong defense by his 17th-ranked Lobos, but even he was surprised by their latest effort.
New Mexico blocked a season-high 11 shots and outrebounded taller New Mexico State in a 73-58 victory Saturday.
“Our guys love challenges,” Alford said. “I don’t think we thought about having 11 blocks. I would just as soon have maybe six blocks and six charges, but be that as it may, 11 blocks is a lot.”
The bulk were by Alex Kirk, who matched his career high with five blocks, and guard Hugh Greenwood, who had a career-best four.
That surprised Aggies coach Marvin Menzies, as well.
“They were fantastically more aggressive than we had seen from that perspective,” the former UNLV assistant said.
The Lobos’ four-rebound advantage came against a team that had been outrebounding opponents by 10 per game.
“Any time you’re outrebounded, typically the team is a little more aggressive, usually a little tougher,” Menzies said.
Kendall Williams had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for New Mexico (11-0). Kirk scored 15, and Chad Adams added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Seven of Kirk’s points came during an 11-2 first-half run that boosted New Mexico’s lead to 28-16.
Daniel Mullings scored 14 to lead New Mexico State (5-5).
■ No. 18 San Diego State 72, San Diego 56 – At San Diego, Chase Tapley made back-to-back 3-pointers during a decisive 12-0 run and had 15 points as the No. 18 Aztecs (8-1) beat the Toreros (6-6).
Jamaal Franklin added 14 points and DeShawn Stephens 11 for San Diego State, which has won seven in a row in the crosstown rivalry. Ken Rancifer scored 16 points to lead San Diego.
■ UNR 59, San Francisco 51 – At Reno, Deonte Burton scored 14 points, and the Wolf Pack (7-4) defeated the Dons (5-3).
Jordan Burris added 11 points and seven rebounds for UNR, which led by 15 points in the second half and held on after San Francisco got as close as 51-49.
UNR made 17 of 24 free throws, forced 18 turnovers and had a 45-30 rebounding advantage. Cole Dickerson had 11 points and nine rebounds for San Francisco.
■ UC Irvine 58, Fresno State 51 - At Fresno, Calif., Chris McNealy scored 13 points, Will Davis II had 15 rebounds, and the Anteaters (5-6) erased a 10-point deficit to beat the Bulldogs (5-6).
UC Irvine used a 22-12 run to tie the game 44-all with 5:38 to play. Damian Starring’s jumper and two free throws broke a 51-all tie.
Allen Huddleston led Fresno State with 12 points.