ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sam Logwood and Troy Simons scored 14 points apiece, leading five New Mexico players in double figures Wednesday night as the Lobos beat Evansville 78-59.
K.J. Riley led the Purples Aces (5-2) with 13.
New Mexico (3-4) gained control early in the game, reeling off an 11-0 run over an eight-minute span, during which the Aces went 0-for-9 from the field.
“We talked about getting back to running offensively,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said of jump-starting the team. “I think just kind of getting bogged with the lack of wins lately has really taken the wind out of our offensive pace. We have to get back to pushing the ball and running and attacking and doing what we do. And we did a really good job of that.”
Evansville did score the first six points to open the second half to close within 35-33, but the Lobos pushed their lead out to 52-40 with a 9-1 run, then piled on from there.
New Mexico turned in a rugged defensive performance, forcing 21 turnovers, including nine steals, while holding Evansville to 19-of-52 shooting (36.5 percent) from the field.
“We have a hard time emulating that kind of athleticism,” Evansville coach Marty Simmons said of handling the end-to-end pressure. “They do a terrific job. We knew if we did handle it, we’d get some good opportunities and I thought at times we did, but they certainly won that battle. They’re active with their hands. They read passing lanes. I think that was the big key of the game was our inability to take care of the basketball.”
Chris McNeal had 13 points, Makuach Malauch and Anthony Mathis each scored 10 for the Lobos and Antino Jackson had 10 assists.
“Antino’s ability to push the ball in the second half in transition I thought really helped us win the game,” Weir said.
New Mexico’s win ends a four-game losing streak with games at Colorado and at home against Arizona and bitter rival New Mexico State looming large over the next three weeks.
“Losing really tests your resolve and your commitment to what you want to do and who you want to be,” Weir said. “Our culture has really been tested. How tough are we? How together are we? How together are all the things that we say we want to be? We spend just as much time on that as we did on X’s and O’s.”
The Aces have lost two in a row after opening the season with five straight wins. Although Evansville has a relatively light schedule on tap, it does go to Duke on Dec. 20 in the final game before Missouri Valley play starts
Evansville entered the game as the county’s third-ranked 3-pointing shooting team at 47.8 percent, but missed all six of its 3s in the first half. Blake Simmons ended that streak at the 18:34 mark of the second half. The Aces finished the game 3-for-13 behind the arc.
New Mexico heads south to meet longtime rival UTEP on Saturday.
Evansville returns home Saturday to meet Oakland City.