Albuquerque, NM – Alex Kirk scored 25 points and the 14th- ranked New Mexico Lobos earned 70-60 victory over San Diego State to maintain its cushion atop the Mountain West Conference.
The Lobos (24-4, 11-2 MWC) have won four straight, including a huge win at Colorado State last weekend that gave them a two-game lead in the conference.
Kendall Williams erupted for 46 points behind 10 3-pointers in that contest, but played the role of facilitator on Wednesday, finishing with eight assists and as many points.
Kirk was Williams' favorite finisher, as the center hit 8-of-12 from the field, 3-of-3 from behind the arc and 6-of-6 from the foul line. Cameron Bairstow chipped in 16 points for the victors.
Jamaal Franklin had a team-high 16 points, but shot just 3-of-13 for San Diego State (20-8, 8-6), which was trying to sweep the season series from the Lobos.
New Mexico scored just 34 points in its loss to SDSU last month, and the Lobos reached that mark when Kirk made the first of two free throws early in the second half.
The freebies started a 9-0 run that featured Williams' only field goal and extended the lead to 42-30 with 14 1/2 minutes to play.
The margin reach 15 when Williams found Chad Adams behind the defense for a dunk and a 48-33 advantage.
A 7-0 spurt by the Aztecs cut into the deficit, but the closest they could get was five. It was a six-point game, 59-53, coming down the stretch before Kirk made two free throws and sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key to seal it.
New Mexico led 28-26 at halftime after both teams combined to shoot a pitiful 2-of-18 from 3-point range.
SDSU shot just 36 percent from the field and 4-of-23 (17 percent) from the perimeter ... Franklin also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds ... The Aztecs had just seven assists on 21 made field goals.