Final 12 minutes gets Lobo’s sixth straight win
With only 4 points going into the final 12 minutes of the game, New Mexico’s Danny Granger decided to step it up and shot 16 of his 20 points, giving the Lobo’s their sixth win in a row by beating Tennessee 77-58, Saturday night.
New Mexico (10-1) matched its best start in four years and tuned up with a meeting next week against No. 6 Wake Forest with a dominating effort against the Volunteers (4-4).
And it was Granger who delivered the knockout punch.
Double-teamed and held to three points in the first half, Granger sparked an 18-6 run by the Lobos in the second half after Tennessee had cut a 12-point halftime deficit to 38-34 with 12:46 left.
The Volunteers’ comeback was led by freshman guard Chris Lofton, who finished with 19 points, including going 5-for-5 on 3-pointers. A lay-up by JaJuan Smith got Tennessee within four and the Volunteers had a chance to make it a one-point game, but Scooter McFagdon’s 3-pointer rimmed out.
It was all Granger and New Mexico after that. He scored seven quick points, connecting on a 16-foot jumper; a 3-pointer after stealing the ball from Volunteer Andre Patterson and a shot in the lane that pushed New Mexico’s lead up to 50-36 with 9:57 left.
Back-to-back baskets by Troy DeVries and David Chiotti finished the run and gave New Mexico a 56-38 lead.
New Mexico hit 13 of its last 18 shots in the second half and shot 64 percent in the final 20 minutes. The Lobos also had season-low 8 turnovers – just 1 in the first half – and shut down the Volunteers’ inside game.
McFagdon was the only effective scorer for the Volunteers inside. He finished with 16 points, 14 of them in the second half.
Five New Mexico players scored in double figures. DeVries scored 9 of the Lobos’ first 17 points and finished with 16. Mark Walters scored 14, Chiotti 11 and Alfred Neale 10.
Tennessee Center Brandon Crump, who had scored in the double digits the last two games, came up with only two points for the game.