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New Mexico Falls Short Against USC, 82-90

Two undefeated teams met in Los Angeles on Saturday night and unfortunately, it was the Trojans (3-0) that came out unscathed. New Mexico's (3-1) second half rally wasn't enough to make up for their slow start.

Tim Williams' huge double-double of 25 points and 15 rebounds wasn't enough to overcome a balanced Trojans' attack.
Tim Williams' huge double-double of 25 points and 15 rebounds wasn't enough to overcome a balanced Trojans' attack.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Williams led the Lobos with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Elijah Brown chipped in 18 points and big man Obij Aget had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. Despite these promising performances, New Mexico was unable to pick up the win.

So what went wrong? With the score knotted at 12 apiece, USC went on a 20-8 run. They extended their lead to 17 going into halftime with a 48-31 advantage. It was the hot shooting of USC, especially Elijah Stewart (16 points in the first half) that gave the Trojans such an edge. Southern Cal went into halftime shooting 56%, with five players having scored six points or more. The Lobos only shot 38% during that time. Apart from Williams (12 points) and Aget (9 points), the team just could not find the basket. Cullen Neal was 1-8 and Brown was 1-9. Though they limited their turnovers in the first half to five, they only forced four themselves, which kept them from getting the easy transition baskets that they excel at.

In the second half, the Lobos were able to string together a 30-15 rally to close the gap to 81-76 with a little under two minutes remaining in the second half. Williams continued to lead, but he had some help in the form of key three pointers by Neal (who finished 4/17 for 9 points), Brown (who finished 6/21), and Anthony Mathis (3 points). Diminutive point guard Tim Jacobs kept the ball moving with seven second half assists. Yet it would all be for naught. In the end, USC made their free throws and UNM was never able to close the gap beyond five points.

Southern California used a balanced attack led by Jordan McLaughlin's 19 points. Three others scored 14 or more and the team connected on a season-high 12 three pointers.

With respect to New Mexico's previous opponents, this was perhaps their first true test of the year and they did not play well. Poor shooting (39% from the field, 67% from free throws) and an inability to get out on the break (5 fast break points) plagued the team. They will look to respond this Wednesday in the Pit against Nicholls State.