No. 18 New Mexico 75, Southern Cal 67

New Mexico coach Steve Alford came away from Wednesday night’s

game with Southern California pretty impressed with a long stretch

turned in by his 18th-ranked Lobos.

”From about 5 minutes to go in the first half to 5 minutes to

go in the game, that was 20 minutes of a really high level of

basketball for us,” Alford said. ”And that was very good to


Buoyed by that stretch, New Mexico (9-0) beat the Trojans


”I thought our effort and intensity tonight was even up a

level,” Alford said. ”Maybe it was because we started making some


USC (3-5) used a 7-0 run to take a 28-18 lead with 8 minutes to

go in the first half before things started to turn around in the

Lobos’ favor.

New Mexico closed the half on a 25-6 run that all but decided

the outcome.

”You’re down 10 and you end up going up nine at half,” Alford

said. ”So you have a 19-point turnaround in one half.”

Hugh Greenwood, who led all scorers with 17 points, hit two

3-pointers in the closing minutes, including one at the shot-clock

buzzer with 5 seconds left in the half to give New Mexico a 43-34


Over the final 7 minutes of the first half, New Mexico connected

on 8 of 11 shots from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point


”That killed us,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. ”We didn’t

guard anybody. We couldn’t guard a lunch in a kindergarten class.

The game was really won in the last 7 minutes of the first


Alex Kirk added a double-double for the Lobos with 13 points and

13 rebounds, while Kendall Williams contributed 13 points and a

season-high nine assists.

Five Trojans scored in double figures, led by 14 from Eric Wise,

but that couldn’t prevent USC from losing its fourth straight.

New Mexico’s lead grew to 59-42 before the Trojans closed the

gap behind a 13-2 run that made it 70-65 with 2:13 left.

”We cut it to five and we had our chances,” O’Neill said.

But Williams followed with a 3-pointer for New Mexico to break

the streak.

”You get a 17-point lead at home there are a lot of things to

go wrong to be caught,” Alford said. ”I thought USC did a good

job of continuing to play extremely hard.”

The Trojans did turn in one of their better shooting

performances, going 27 of 51 from the field, prompting O’Neill to

say, ”I liked the way we played offense.”

New Mexico also shot above 50 percent (28 of 54) and also won

the rebounding battle 31-23, which made Alford smile.

”It was good to see some guys make some shots,” he said.

”They’ve been working awfully hard on things. Plus eight on the

glass again playing the biggest team we’ve played all year. A lot

of positives out of this one.”