LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Once again, it was shooting that doomed the New Mexico Lobos against San Diego State.
In the Lobos first game of the Mountain West Tournament, they fell to the seventh-seeded Aztecs, 70-61 in overtime.
UNM only shot 10 percent from 3-point range, going 3-for-29 from deep, compared to 45 percent from beyond the arc for SDSU.
"I thought out of 29 shots from the three, I'm going to say 25 were horse shots," head coach Mike Bradbury said. "You've got to make more than three of those. You just can't win like that."
The Lobos lead for the majority of the game, and in the first half were playing strong defense that kept the Aztecs shooters in check and allowed the Lobos to maintain a slim lead. The Aztecs shot below 30 percent from the field in the first half thanks to UNM's defensive pressure and a slow start from Sophia Ramos and Naje Murray.
UNM took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter before things began to unravel on them. The Lobos gave up back-to-back 3s to Ramos and Murray which got Ramos going and swung the game dramatically in SDSU's favor.
"We went zone," Bradbury said of the sequence. "We were having trouble guarding the ball. So we went zone about five possessions there and the first three were good. And the last couple they knocked down a couple threes...I mean it was just kind of what happened."
In the last 21:55 of the game, SDSU outscored the Lobos 42-20 to swing the game in their favor. Sophia Ramos scored with two seconds remaining in the game to tie it at 59 on a possession that lasted nearly the entire final minute thanks to multiple offensive rebounds that extended the possession.
UNM didn't foul on the possession, which Bradbury blamed on an inability to get things communicated because of the rebounds.
The Aztecs emphatically won the rebounding battle, pulling down 15 more rebounds than UNM. Bradbury said that he didn't feel like his team failed to execute, rather SDSU just beat them to the ball.
"But I don't think it was because we didn't play hard enough. I think that's just the way it was," he said.
In overtime, the Aztecs scored on their first five possessions of the period to jump out to a 69-59 lead before UNM finally made a shot with just 1:09 in the period after missing their first six attempts.
"I think it was just the luck of the draw," Nunn said of the Lobos inability to hit from three. "We were hitting them at first then they just weren't falling. I tried hitting them, (Everett), (De La Cerda), (Ahlise Hurst), like everybody, even (Antonia Anderson) started trying to shoot them and they just didn't fall.
Ramos scored the Aztecs last ten points of regulation to lead the comeback for the Aztecs.
The Lobos, who have the No. 41 RPI in the country, will now await their WNIT opponent, as an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament is unlikely.
Cameron Goeldner is a senior reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball and the Albuquerque Isotopes, but also contributes content for all other sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.