Published January 08, 2015
Albuquerque, NM (SportsNetwork.com) - Cameron Bairstow had 26 points and nine rebounds as New Mexico handled No. 6 San Diego State, 58-44.
Kendall Williams scored 10 points with seven assists for the Lobos (21-5, 12-2 MWC), who have won three straight and nine of 10.
These two clubs are now tied atop the standings in the Mountain West Conference.
"We knew it was on the line and what the game meant to us so we wanted to get out to a quick start and we managed to do that," Bairstow said. "And we went back a little bit in the second half, but besides that I think our defense was outstanding."
Winston Shepard scored 10 points with six rebounds for the Aztecs (23-3, 12-2), who had won their past two after a loss at Wyoming on Feb. 11 that had snapped a 20-game winning streak.
The handshake line after the game turned ugly as players for both teams were involved in some minor shoving.
"Hand shake lines aren't good and I still don't understand them," New Mexico coach Craig Neal said. "When two competitive teams go to war, they are not nice. I don't know what happened, but it's my responsibility to control my team and that's what I did."
New Mexico held a seven-point lead to start the second half, and San Diego State got the first bucket of the second half on a J.J. O'Brien steal and jumper.
The Aztecs, though, managed just one bucket over the next nine minutes, while the Lobos scored 21 points, with a Cullen Neal 3-pointer giving the team a 50-26 lead with 11 minutes to play.
Three straight baskets by San Diego State got the team to within 52-35, but the team didn't get another bucket for close to four minutes as New Mexico cruised to the win.
It was a close game over the first several minutes, but the Lobos used an 8-2 run to create some distance and Neal hit a 3-pointer a bit later for a 23-12 lead with under nine minutes to play.
An 8-0 run from San Diego State got the team to within three on a Dwayne Polee II jumper with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, but New Mexico scored the final four points to take a 29-22 lead into the break.
New Mexico hosts Utah State on Tuesday ... San Diego State hosts San Jose State on Tuesday ... The Lobos hold a 43-33 edge in the series, and have won 27 of the 36 games played in Albuquerque ... New Mexico made 50 percent of its shots (25-for-50), while San Diego State hit on just 32.3 percent (21-of-65) of its attempts.