Lobos outwork SIU in second half

By Gus Bode

Brandon LaChance

Daily Egyptian

Head: Lobos outwork Salukis in second half


After a first half in which neither SIU nor the University of New Mexico could take over the game, the Lobos proved supreme in the second half, outworking the Salukis on the boards and hitting clutch 3-point baskets to win the game 74-59.

“We guarded them well early in the shot clock (but) late, we had too many breakdowns,” Coach Chris Lowery said. “We missed a lot of wide-open shots. We did a good job of getting what we wanted. We have to get our big (players) going, both of them, because they were open a lot and didn’t finish. When we have point blanks that both of them can make, we have to make them pay to set up our defense because those guys are pretty good.”

The Lobos (5-1) had to fight for a 33-30 halftime lead, as they traded baskets with the Salukis (3-4), but the second half was a different game as the Lobos jumped out to a 9-2 run that started with a 3-point basket made by senior guard Dairese Gary.

New Mexico out-rebounded the Salukis 37-32 and found ways to break down the SIU defense, while the Salukis couldn’t find the hoop.

The Salukis shot 20-of-54 for a percentage of 37 while the Lobos had a percentage of 46 with 25-of-54 shooting from the field. Junior guard Troy Long led the Salukis with 13 points, while senior forward Carlton Fay, junior forward Mamadou Seck and sophomore guard Kendal Brown-Surles finished with 10 points.

Brown-Surles, who led the game with eight assists, said getting outplayed in the first couple of minutes in the second half is what hurt the team.

“That first five minutes of the second half is always critical because whoever wins that first five minutes is most likely going to win the game,” Brown-Surles said. “We didn’t come out with any energy. It came down to energy like Coach said: we just have to find ways to win and come out with more energy.”


The referee’s whistles were rarely silent during the game as both teams were called for fouls often. The Salukis were called for four fouls in the first four minutes of the first half, while the Lobos were called for four fouls in the first four minutes of the second half. Junior Saluki guard Mykel Cleveland played only one minute because of four fouls.

New Mexico coach Steve Alford said his team was worried about the defensive pressure SIU usually asserts, but the Lobos broke through it. He said he felt his team handled the pressure well and worked on some issues it had in its loss against the University of California.

“We have a young basketball team and we didn’t handle things on the road in California, especially in the second half playing in a Pac-10 environment and a very good basketball team, we kind of fell apart,” Alford said. “I thought tonight we wanted to see improvement in a lot of areas and we saw that. We did a very good job on the backboard. We handled the ball, (and with) 13 turnovers against that pressure, we’ll take that.”

The Salukis’ next game will be against Chicago State University at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Chicago.

Brandon LaChance can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext. 282.