Sports briefs 02-21-14

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Lobos to face Aztecs for MW lead


The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team cleared one major conference hurdle, now it must get ready to leap over a second.

The Lobos improved their Mountain West mark to 11-2 with a decisive win over the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Wednesday night in Las Vegas, but their biggest test, a two-game set with the San Diego State Aztecs, still awaits.

The Lobos and the Aztecs meet for the first time this season Saturday in Albuquerque.

With UNM’s 68-56 win over UNLV, it pulled to within a half-game of the conference-leading Aztecs, who are ranked sixth in the current Associated Press college poll.

Game time Saturday is set for 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Against the Rebels, Kendall Williams poured in 29 points and Cameron Bairstow added 18. Interestingly, those totals ended up being the vast majority of points the Lobos would score.

Former Hilltopper Alex Kirk was held to just 8 points in 16 minutes of play against UNLV. Kirk struggled with foul trouble much of the night.

The Lobos (20-5) led by as many as 17 points early in the second half and cruised to victory the rest of the way. The Rebels (17-9 overall, 8-5 in MW) upended the Lobos Feb. 1 in The Pit.


NMSU’s offense torches Texas Pan-Am


The New Mexico State University Aggie men’s basketball team picked up a big road win over Texas Pan-American Thursday night.

The Aggies shot a blistering 80 percent from the floor in the second half, missing on just four attempts, as they thumped Pan-Am’s Broncs 78-61 in Edinburg.

A quartet of Aggies finished in double-figures, led by guard Daniel Mullings’ 18 points. Sim Bhullar, who has been hampered by injury during the Western Athletic Conference season, dropped in 15 points and blocked 3 shots.

The two teams were knotted at 33 at the half, but NMSU got red hot in the second half and outscored the Broncs 45-28 to win going away.

NMSU (21-8) has now won four straight WAC games, upping its conference mark to 10-3. The Aggies are just a half-game back of WAC-leading Utah Valley, which it faces Feb. 27 in Orem.

The Aggies crushed Utah Valley Feb. 1 in Las Cruces, 72-49.


UNM downs UNLV on Pink Night


The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team ended a three-game Mountain West slide with a win over UNLV Wednesday night in Albuquerque.

On Pink Night at The Pit, the Lobos bounced back from a 5-point deficit late in the first half to knock off the Runnin’ Rebels 65-58. Lobo guard Antiesha Brown went 7-for-10 from the field for 18 points to lead the way.

In the comeback win, the Lobos (9-15) held the Rebels (10-15) to just 31.4 percent from the field in the second half.

UNM upped its Mountain West mark to 4-9, but that’s still only good enough for ninth place in the 11-team conference.


Trio of Lobos take part in indoor championships


Ridge Jones, Kendall Spencer and Warrick Campbell will represent the Lobo men’s track and field team at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championship meet.

The meet is at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Spencer was the NCAA 2012 indoor long jump champion, while Campbell will compete in the triple jump and Jones, who also competes on the Lobo football team, will take part in the 60 meters this weekend.

The meet began this morning in Albuquerque and will continue through Sunday.