ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Senior reserve Jamal Fenton gave New Mexico just what it needed in the second half Saturday against Boise State with starting point guard Hugh Greenwood in foul trouble and struggling with his shot.
Fenton scored all 11 of his points in the second half to help the No. 19 Lobos (22-4, 9-2 New Mexico) hold off the Broncos 60-50.Cameron Bairstow led the Lobos with 16 points and added seven rebounds, and Tony Snell finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists for New Mexico.Derrick Marks was the only player to score in double figures for the Broncos (16-8, 4-6). Marks had 19 points and seven rebounds, and reserve Kenny Buckner grabbed 11 rebounds for Boise State."This has been a team that has an awful lot of balance and a lot of guys score," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said of the Broncos. "So to have only one guy in double figures, I thought that was a really good defensive effort by our guys."Fenton hit a trio of key 3-pointers to provide all of the Lobos' points during an 8-minute stretch in which their lead shrank from 38-29 to 47-46."I thought Jamal Fenton really gave us a boost in the second half when we weren't making shots," Alford said. "And that's what seniors have got to do."Fenton had gone 0 for 10 on 3-pointers in the previous four games before breaking his slump."He did a really good job in the second half when we weren't scoring," Alford said.Fenton sank half of the Lobos' second-half field goals and made the only 3s of the half.But New Mexico's defense forced the Broncos into 11 straight scoreless possessions while the Lobos pulled away from the line by going 8 of 10 in that span. Boise State went just 5 of 10 from the line for the game, including missing three foul shots during its scoreless stretch.New Mexico's ability to successfully get to the line and convert its chances throughout the second half proved to be key with the Lobos going 16 of 19 after making 3 of 6 in the first half.That speaks to the Lobos' mental toughness, Alford said. "It was really a gut-check performance," he said. "We grew up mentally. We've been a mentally tough team all year long. And this was definitely a mentally tough win."Broncos coach Leon Rice credited New Mexico's defense with a stifling effort, holding them to 37-percent shooting and 5 of 20 from 3-point range."They did a great job defensively," he said. "They never let our guys get into a good rhythm. We didn't feel like we got into a good rhythm, There were a couple times there where we thought we might get it going, and we just never really got it going but again, that's a credit to New Mexico."