December is a good time for the Lobo men. Since 2004, the Lobos have won 33 straight basketball games during the month.
That latest victory came Wednesday night. No. 18-ranked UNM won its ninth straight game since the season’s start, capturing a 75-67 victory over Southern California Wednesday night at The Pit.
The start is the second-best under six-year head coach Steve Alford. UNM started 12-0 in 2009-10. It is the ninth 9-0 start in school history.
USC shot lights out early, netting 12 of its first 16 shots from the field. However, UNM took advantage via a 25-6 run to close out the first half with a 43-34 lead. The Lobos never trailed in the second half, but that edge was cut to as close as five points late in the game.
“We had about a 20-minute stretch there from the closing to the start of the second half that I thought really helped us,” said junior guard Kendall Williams, who scored 13 points. “We played our best basketball of the year moving the ball, getting out bigs involved. That was big time.”
Following his eight-point overtime performance at Indiana State on Saturday, sophomore guard Hugh Greenwood scored 17 points. He hit five 3-pointers against the Trojans. He was 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and 6 of 11 for the game overall.
“I haven’t shot it well all year, and I think most people know that,” Greenwood said. “I still felt confident. The ball felt really good and I knew it was a matter of time before they’d start dropping.”
Williams made a season-high nine assists, one short of a double-double. Several of those assists went to Greenwood and sophomore center Alex Kirk, who also scored 13 points. Kirk captured his third double-double in four games after he pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.
All five Trojan starters reached double figures, led by forward Eric Wise’s 14. USC (3-5) had seven points off the bench, compared to the Lobos’ 17.
UNM shot 28 of 54 from the field, 11 of 24 from 3-point range and 8 of 14 from the foul line. USC was 27 of 51 from the field.
“We’ve had great effort,” Alford said. “Our pacing, our intensity tonight was even up a level. Maybe it was because we started making some shot.”