It wasn't the prettiest win ever, but I'm guessing Utah will take it. Especially since it looks like the Utes won't be stuck playing in the dreaded play-in game next month. Utah also moves out of 8th place, climbing to 7th with a 5-9 conference record. This win also snapped a three game losing streak and gives Utah a double digit win total, and all it took was 4 months of basketball!
Johnnie Bryant scored 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting and hit 13 in a row in the second half to lead the Utes in scoring. Luke Nevill, back from missing Utah's trip to Wyoming with a hip injury, had 15 points including two crucial free throws in the second overtime that put Utah up by two with 2 seconds left. Utah's double overtime victory was the Utes 18th straight victory over New Mexico at home, the Lobos haven't beaten the Utes since 1989 in Salt Lake City.
New Mexico held a double digit lead late in the second half, but the Utes stormed back and forced overtime. Shaun Green, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds, almost won the game at the buzzer, but his three point shot rimmed out. In overtime, Nevill had a chance to put the Utes up 2 with 33 seconds left, but missed both free throws. New Mexico then had a chance to win it, but Darren Prentice missed a three pointer in the waning seconds.
New Mexico was led by Prentice, who had 28 points on 9-14 shooting. J.R. Giddens played even though he had been suspended indifferently last week. He played 27 minutes, but only had a meager 6 points. This was the Lobos first game since Ritchie McKay was informed he would not be back as New Mexico's head coach next year. It's still unclear if Ray Giacoletti will meet the same fate.
Utah's final home game is this Tuesday against the Aztecs. The Utes will be honoring the team's lone senior, Ricky Johns. After that, Utah ends the regular season with a road game against instate rival BYU.