ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Kendric Davis scored a season-high 33 points and provided an answer for SMU every time it needed it against New Mexico in a 90-71 win Sunday.
“He was sensational,” SMU coach Tim Jankovich said. “He was just sensational. Obviously, he was ad-libbing. Give him some room and he makes some great plays. Other guys stepped up too, but he was sensational.”
The Mustangs (9-3) won for the sixth straight time, using an early 8-0 run to build a 19-7 lead, then holding the Lobos (6-6) at bay for the rest of the game.
Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 25 for New Mexico and Jaelen House Jr. added 16, but the Mustangs got 13 from Marcus Weathers and 11 from Zach Nutall.
SMU also controlled the interior, with a 42-28 scoring advantage and a 48-32 rebounding edge.
Still, several times down the stretch, the Lobos were able to cut the lead into single digits before Davis and the Mustangs responded.
“The way we responded over the last four or five minutes, when it really gets hard and which is when the games are won or lost, I love the way we played the last four or five minutes,” Jankovich said.
SMU is a good model of a program that New Mexico looks to emulate, Lobos coach Richard Pitino said.
“I think they are an NCAA tournament team,” he said. “They’ve got veterans, 1,000 points scorers. They’re old. We still cannot find a way to get a stop when we need to. We cut it to eight or nine in the second half a couple of times. Couldn’t get a stop. I like the fight in the second half. I thought it was good. But give SMU credit. They’re where we want to be in a couple of years. They’re a really talented team.”
SMU continues to show well after rebounding from back-to-back losses just before Thanksgiving, rolling through a series of second-tier teams en route to an impressive-looking record.
What was supposed to be a pleasant December filled with good home cooking has turned into something altogether unappetizing as New Mexico has lost three of four games thus far, with undefeated No. 23 Colorado State on tap Dec. 28 to start Mountain West play.
SMU returns home to play Evansville Tuesday (Dec. 21) in a final tuneup before American Athletic Conference play begins the following week.
New Mexico continues a month-long homestand with a final non-conference game against Norfolk State on Tuesday (Dec. 21).
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