• Lobos, Aggies both heading to Big Dance
    The University of New Mexico Lobos knocked off the San Diego State Aztecs in the final round of the Mountain West tournament. San Diego State still managed to get into the NCAA tournament with an at-large big, but if the Aztecs thought they were done with the state of New Mexico for awhile, they were wrong. The Aztecs, the No. 4 seed in the West Region of the NCAA tournament, will face the 13th-seeded New Mexico State Aggies. The Aztecs and the Aggies will play Thursday evening, following the conclusion of the Oklahoma-North Dakota State game at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time. San Diego State nipped UNM for the regular season Mountain West championship, but UNM topped San Diego State in the final round of the MW tournament Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev. Cameron Bairstow had 17 points and 9 rebounds, while former Hilltopper Alex Kirk finished with 8 points and 11 rebounds as UNM tripped up San Diego State 64-58. Despite two wins on the year in three chances against the Aztecs, who polled as high as No. 5 this season, as well as finishing with a 27-6 record, the Lobos were only awarded a No. 7 seed. They are matched up with 10th-seeded Stanford in the South Region and will play at 11:40 a.m. Friday.
  • Aggies survive WAC quarterfinal round
    LAS VEGAS, Nev. — New Mexico State University center Sim Bhullar posted his fourth straight double-double as the No. 2-seeded NMSU men’s basketball team defeated the seventh- seeded Seattle U Redhawks 70-68 in the Orleans Arena Thursday. Bhullar scored a season-high 24 points while pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds in one of the biggest performances of his career. Bhullar, a sophomore, added five blocked shots and three assists as the Aggies advanced to tonight’s Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals. The Aggies pummeled the Redhawks’ defense in two regular season meetings, scoring nearly 100 points in both of those two games, but the Redhawks were up the challenge Thursday. “I am happy that we are still playing and I thought Seattle played really well and they gave it their all,” Aggie head coach Marvin Menzies said afterward. “You have to give credit to their team because they did a fantastic job and they were really prepared for us. Our guys showed heart in the second half and hitting free throws could be the difference of the game.” The Aggies advance to face No. 6 Bakersfield at 9:30 p.m. in tonight’s WAC semifinal round. The WAC championship game is Saturday.
  • Lobos one win away from MW finals
    LAS VEGAS, Nev. — A statement game was tossed out Thursday in the Thomas & Mack Center by the two teams that made statements throughout the season. The No. 2 seed University of New Mexico Lobos charged into the Mountain West Tournament semifinals with a 93-77 win over Fresno State, Thursday night. Also Thursday, San Diego State, the MW regular season champion, mauled Utah State 73-39. The Lobos advance to play Boise State, which beat Nevada 75-62. The Broncos are one of three teams to beat UNM in the regular season with their 71-70 win in Boise Feb. 12. The Aztecs, meawhile, will try to knock off the home team, UNLV, a 71-67 winner over Wyoming. The Thomas & Mack definitely will be rocking on Friday as the Rebels should draw a good crowd for their upset bid against the Aztecs. The venue was already was rocking Thursday night as Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk both scored 21 points to pace the quarterfinal win. “Our two big guys are hard to guard, hard to play,” said Lobo head coach Craig Neal.  “We made a concerted effort to go inside tonight. I really didn’t do anything different. I usually don’t wave a magic wand. We were fortunate that Cam and Alex had good nights. We can play a lot of different ways.  We really didn’t change much.”
  • Lobos will face Bulldogs
    The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team will open up the Mountain West tournament tonight when it takes on the Fresno State Bulldogs. UNM is the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, taking place at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The Lobo-Bulldog game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Mountain Time. Fresno State (17-15) trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half Thursday against Air Force, but answered with a 14-6 run after Air Force went into stall mode on offense. The Bulldogs’ Tyler Johnson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes to give his team a 61-59 victory to put the Bulldogs into the tournament quarterfinals. The Lobos (24-6) and the Bulldogs played just once this season, in Fresno, with the Lobos winning that contest 89-78 Jan. 18. Cameron Bairstow had 22 points and Alex Kirk finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Johnson, who finished with 19 points Wednesday night, had 16 points to lead Fresno State against UNM. UNM, along with the other top five teams in the tournament, had a bye into the quarterfinals. 
  • Bairstow, Neal pick up honors
    The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team picked up two big individual awards from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Lobo center Cameron Bairstow and head coach Craig Neal earned the District 8 Player and Coach of the Year, based on voting by the USBWA’s members. Bairstow was the leading scorer in Mountain West play this season, averaging 20.4 points per game. He was also the leader in field goal percentage, hitting on 56.5 percent of his attempts. Neal, meanwhile, was the only first-year head coach in the nation to receive the USBWA’s top district coaching honor. Neal tied the record for most wins in UNM history for a first-year head coach this season. Monday, the Mountain West named Bairstow as a first-team all-conference selection. The Player of the Year award went to Xavier Thames of San Diego State and Steve Fisher of San Diego State was named Coach of the Year.
  • Lobos win big on their Senior Night
    ALBUQUERQUE — For New Mexico senior Cameron Bairstow, Wednesday night’s game with Air Force was all he could have sought in the final home appearance of his career. Bairstow finished with 21 points and seven rebounds to lead the 21st-ranked Lobos to an 80-52 victory. A leading candidate for Mountain West Conference player of the year, Bairstow finished off his night with just the second 3-pointer of his career. He left to a standing ovation with 5:26 remaining and New Mexico leading 71-40. “In terms of how things went and getting a win, shoot that 3 and experience that sort of stuff and the crowd, that was all part of the dream,” he said. “I think that’s as good as it’s going to get.” The Lobos finish the regular season on Saturday at No. 10 San Diego State, the team they started the night tied for first place with in the conference. Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich knew his team was in for a rough night from the outset. “In this environment, on senior night, we knew it was going to be a buzz saw,” he said.
  • NMSU Aggies fall short in overtime
    The New Mexico State University Aggie men’s basketball team held a 7 point lead with about 2-1/2 minutes remaining, but couldn’t survive a comeback by the Utah Valley Wolverines. The Wolverines erased the deficit and forced overtime Thursday night in Orem. In the overtime period, Utah Valley outscored NMSU 13-8 to take a 66-61 victory in a critical Western Athletic Conference game. The win by Utah Valley (17-10, 11-3 in WAC) put it a game ahead of NMSU (21-9, 10-4) in the conference standings. NMSU has just two games remaining in the regular season. Utah Valley’s Ben Arid had 21 points to lead all scorers, while Keawe Enos sank to key free throws late to force overtime. For the Aggies, Daniel Mullings had 19 and Sim Bhullar finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds. The end of the game was marred by an on-court brawl after NMSU’s KC Ross-Miller hurled a ball at Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker after time expired.
  • Lobos top Utags to keep pace in the MW
    One of the knocks on the University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team this season has been its defense. But it’s hard to complain about the team’s defense the last two games. Following up on a huge defensive performance Saturday night in a win over San Diego State, the Lobos came up big once again, this time in their victory over the Utah State Aggies. The Aggies, or Utags, as they’re better known, managed a pedestrian 37.9 percent shooting average from the floor Tuesday night as the Lobos topped them 67-58 at The Pit. That came just two nights after the Lobos held San Diego State’s Aztecs to just 44 points in their contest, also in Albuquerque, which allowed UNM to pull even with the Aztecs for the lead in the Mountain West standings. UNM needed the big defensive showing, though, as it had a relatively pedestrian night on the other end. UNM managed only 26 points in the opening half — the Lobos actually trailed at the break — and shot just 39.3 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes itself. Utah State kept it close most of the way Tuesday. Kyle Davis dropped in a layup at the 6:54 mark of the second half to give the Utags a 52-50 edge, but UNM’s Cullen Neal drained a 3-pointer about 20 seconds later to put the Lobos up for good.
  • Lobos top Aztecs to earn first-place tie
    The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team pulled even with the San Diego State Aztecs for the top spot in the Mountain West with a win in Albuquerque Saturday. The Lobos held the Aztecs to just 22 points in each half as they earned a 58-44 victory in The Pit to knot up the top spot in the conference. UNM and San Diego State will meet once more, in southern California, in a game which could well decide the regular season title. The Lobos (21-5 overall, 12-2 in MW) allowed the Aztecs (23-3, 12-2) to convert just 30.6 percent of their chances from the floor in the first half. The Aztecs did little better in the second half, making just 10 field goals. UNM was in danger of playing itself right out of a chance for the conference regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming MW tournament with a loss to Boise State Feb. 12. But with back-to-back wins over UNLV — which handed the Lobos their first conference loss — and the Aztecs, who were ranked sixth in the country heading into Saturday’s game, have propelled UNM to the top of the standings. Cameron Bairstow led the way for the Lobos with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Kendall Williams added 10 points and Cullen Neal had 8 off the bench.
  • State Notes 02-13-14
    Lobos tripped up by Broncos The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team had a chance to pull even with the San Diego State Aztecs Wednesday night, but it couldn’t hold on to a late lead against the Boise State Broncos. UNM’s Kendall Williams buried a 3-pointer with :31 remaining at Boise, but Derrick Marks of Boise State was fouled with :14 remaining and nailed both clutch free throws as the Broncos upended the Lobos 71-70. A win by the Lobos would’ve tied them with the Aztecs for the lead in the Mountain West conference — San Diego State, the No. 5 team in the nation, was upset by Wyoming Tuesday night in Laramie — but the Broncos erased a 12-point lead the Lobos had built up late in the first half to earn the victory. Williams had a big night for the Lobos (18-5 overall) finishing with 22 points, while Cameron Bairstow added 20 and Alex Kirk finished with 13 points and 9 boards. But the Broncos actually won the battle on the glass by a wide margin, 35-25. The Broncos (16-9, 6-6 in MW) were paced by Anthony Drmic’s 18 points, while Thomas Bropleh finished with 14. Aggies host Lou Henson Classic tonight