New Mexico State sends Miami to first loss of season
By KALANI TAKASE
The Associated Press
HONOLULU — Zach Lofton scored nine of his 15 points in the second half and New Mexico State knocked off sixth-ranked and previously undefeated Miami 63-54 on Saturday in a Diamond Head Classic semifinal game at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Lofton also had nine rebounds and three assists as the Aggies (11-2) beat a ranked team for the first time in 10 seasons.
“We don’t get many opportunities like this to play highly ranked teams on a neutral court,” said New Mexico State coach Chris Jans. “And when you have those opportunities you’ve got to take full advantage of it and I couldn’t be more proud of the group of guys than I am right now.”
A.J. Harris and Sidy N’Dir scored 10 points apiece for the Aggies.
“What we told the team before the game was (the Aggies) sometimes make difficult shots and don’t be surprised if they do it,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. “It’s not an accident if they do it, (because) they do that from time to time. Unfortunately, it was at critical times, when we were starting to make a run.”
D.J. Vasiljevic scored 15 points for Miami (10-1). Bruce Brown Jr. had 13, and Dewan Huell added 10.
The result leaves top-ranked Villanova, No. 3 Arizona State and No. 15 Texas Christian as the lone undefeated Division I teams in the country.
New Mexico State took the lead for good with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the first half on a baseline drive by Johnathon Wilkins to make it 23-21.
“We talked, in our timeouts, about having that same mindset,” Jans said. “Even though we were leading, to continue to defend and rebound like we were behind and to play with a sense of urgency and to not relax.”
AP TOP 25
No. 5 North Carolina 86, Ohio St. 72
New Mexico St. 63, No. 6 Miami 54
UCLA 83, No. 7 Kentucky 75
No. 10 West Virginia 86, Fordham 69
No. 21 Tennessee 79, Wake Forest 60
No. 23 Seton Hall 74, Manhattan 62