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Men's shooting woes continue in BYU loss

The UNM men's basketball team scored a season-low 49 points and Brigham Young University converted 16 of its 21 free throw attempts in the second half in dealing UNM its fourth loss in five games 61-49.

Mekeli Wesley scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the first half and Terrell Lyday scored 19 to improve BYU to 16-6 overall and 5-2 in the Mountain West Conference, while the Lobos dropped to 13-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play. Tim Lightfoot led UNM with 15 points.

"There's not much you can say, I thought that we shot ourselves in the foot," UNM head coach Fran Fraschilla said in a post-game radio interview. "They are obviously an excellent defensive team. We gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game but we just didn't make enough shots."

The two teams began the game combining to hit six straight field goals, with UNM guards Ruben Douglas and Eric Chatfield each picking up early buckets. With BYU leading 12-10 at the 13:34 mark, Lyday hit an NBA-length three which sparked a 10-2 run that gave BYU a 22-12 lead before Lightfoot's two free throws broke the UNM drought with 6:43 to play in the half. UNM had three straight turnovers during BYU's run, including a double-dribble call on Chatfield and on Marlon Parmer's errant pass as he drove too far into the lane. Later in the first, Wesley hit two 3-pointers and Daniel Bobik scored on a three-point play to give BYU a 36-20 lead. Douglas hit a three as time ran out to bring the Lobos to within 36-23.

Parmer scored UNM's first three points in the second half. Lightfoot later hit a 3-pointer with less than five minutes gone to close the gap to 40-34. But the Cougars went on a 12-2 scoring spurt to put them ahead 52-37, then clinched the game from the free-throw line.

Lightfoot was the only UNM player to score in double figures. Douglas and Chatfield each scored nine, with Douglas going four-of-11 from the field, including one-of-five from 3-point range and Chatfield going three-of-six overall and one-of-four from three. The Lobos shot 38.6 percent for the game, as BYU made it hard for UNM's guards to penetrate.

"I think our guards as a group did too much," Fraschilla said. "They were trying to make plays; it was tough to get into the lane. They're not an athletic team, but they're very sound defensively and they throw those hands in the air and make it tough for you to score on them."

UNM also continued its free-throw shooting woes, connecting on only 10-of-18 free throw attempts.

"The free throw situation is really an Achilles' heel," Fraschilla said. "And they went to the line 33 times and they were aggressive, of course, and when we had our chances to get to the foul line and make them, we didn't get the job done."

The Lobos continue their two-game road swing against the University of Utah tonight at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. UNM will be up against yet another big lineup, with 6-foot-9-inch forward Britten Johnsen, 6-foot-9-inch forward Phil Cullen and 6-foot-11-inch center Nate Althoff starting for the Utes. The Utes' leading scorer, reserve Kevin Bradley, leads the team with 10.4 points-per-game. The Utes have won 41 straight home conference games, and UNM has lost 11 in a row in Salt Lake City.

Fraschilla said his team was not down even after losing Saturday's game.

"The kids' spirits are fine," Fraschilla said. "We've got to stay together; it's a difficult stretch of the season and I think they know that. There's a lot of teams getting beat on the road."

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