Anthony Mathis banked in a three pointer with 0.3 seconds to go to lift the New Mexico Lobos to an 87-84 win at Cal State-Northridge on Tuesday night in the season opener for both squads.
Corey Manigault led UNM with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Dane Kuiper and Makuach Maluach both added 15 points, and Mathis ended with 12 for the Lobos, who are now 1-0 on the young season.
Cal State-Northridge got 34 points from Lamine Diane, while Terrell Gomez was the only other Matador in double figures with 21 points.
The game was tight throughout with neither team able to gain control. In the first half the Matadors took an early 6-0 lead, only to see a 16-2 Lobos run that gave UNM a 16-8 lead. That ended up being the Lobos largest lead of the game. With 2:35 to go in the first half Cal State-Northridge had a 42-35 lead, but the Lobos ended the half on a 7-0 run that tied it at 42-42 going into halftime.
In the second half the Lobos appeared to be pulling away late when Kuiper made a layup with 8:52 to go to give UNM a 68-62 lead. But it was Diane that led the Matadors back scoring 6 points for CSUN in a 9-3 run that gave the Matadors a 75-72 lead with 5:28 to go.
After trading baskets, the Lobos went on another run, this one an 8-0 run, capped by a Vance Jackson three pointer to give the Lobos an 82-77 lead with 3 minutes to go.
The Matadors just wouldn’t go away, as Diane led them back once again, knocking down a jumper to cut it to three, and, after Cameron Gottfried got it within two and Elijah Harkless stole the ball, Diane hit a jumper to tie it with three seconds left.
However, it was Mathis to be the hero for the Lobos as he drove the length of the floor and heaved a three from the right wing and banked it in to give the Lobos the win.
Certainly not how they drew it up to begin the season, but a win is a win nonetheless for the Lobos.
New Mexico will be back in action in the PIT on Saturday evening, but it will be an exhibition game against Northern New Mexico. They will continue their regular season on Tuesday the 13th when the Iona Gaels pay a visit to Albuquerque.