Lobos Show Grit in Overtime Win Against Eastern Illinois
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A furious third-quarter rally by New Mexico and a fourth-quarter battle forced overtime, with the Lobos scoring the final seven points over a span of 1:05 in the extra period to defeat Eastern Illinois 81-78 on Tuesday night.
There were five lead changes and four ties between the third and fourth quarters with four additional lead changes in overtime. In total, there were 10 lead changes and six ties with UNM leading for only 12:07 of the game.
The Lobos outscored the Panthers 34-23 in the final 20 minutes and outscored EIU 15-12 in overtime for what amounted to a 49-35 advantage in the final 25 minutes, behind 10 points from Paula Reus in the fourth quarter and seven points from Viané Cumber in overtime, including the go-ahead basket with 32 seconds remaining and two free throws with seven seconds on the clock.
Reus finished with a career-high 25 points, 17 of which came in the third and fourth quarters, while Cumber recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in addition to finishing with a career-high five assists.
UNM had four players finish in double figures with Nyah Wilson scoring 21 points and Aniyah Augmon scoring 10 points to go with eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.
Of note, it is the fifth time this season that Wilson has scored in double figures and the third time with 20 or more points, the sixth game for Augmon in double figures, the third time for Reus and the first time scoring 20-plus points this season, and the fourth time in double figures for Cumber this season. Further, it is the fifth time this season that Augmon has created multiple steals and the 17th time in her career.
It is also the second time this season that UNM has had four finish in double figures and the second time with two scoring 20-plus points.
The Lobos scored on their first two possessions to get out to a 3-0 lead to which the Panthers tied on their first made basket at the 6:46 point. EIU proceeded to take a 9-5 that grew to 14-7 at the media timeout. UNM got as close as five on a Cumber three, but the Panthers closed the quarter with the final four points with the Lobos trailing 24-15.
EIU extended its lead to 12 at the start of the second, although UNM responded with a 5-0 run to close the margin before the Panthers got the points right back to go back up by double digits. Trailing by 12 with 3:06 left in the quarter, back-to-back threes by Augmon and Reus pulled the Lobos within six at 38-32, but the Panthers answered with the next five points to take a 43-32 lead into the break.
Defensive pressure changed the momentum from the onset of the third, as the Lobos forced two Panther turnovers and two empty possessions while concurrently scoring the first 12 points of the quarter. A Wilson steal and three-pointer started the scoring followed by two free throws from Reus and a Charlotte Kohl layup that brought the Lobos within four and forced a Panther timeout. The Lobos continued to put pressure on EIU and a Wilson and-one with 5:33 left brought UNM within one. A Reus steal led to a foul, in which the Lobo knocked them both down to give UNM a 44-43 lead into the media timeout, their first lead since it was 3-0.
However, the game proved to be a battle of runs as Eastern Illinois scored the next 11 points to retake the lead at 54-44. UNM again responded with Reus hitting a three and Wilson making two free throws to bring UNM within five as the quarter came to a close.
Wilson scored eight points in the third with Reus scoring seven and Kohl two to account for the 17 points.
The run continued into the fourth on a Reus three that made it a one-possession game at 54-52. An Augmon steal led to a Panther foul that was upgraded to a technical, with Wilson making both free throws to tie the game at 54. A Reus layup off of a Cumber steal gave UNM the lead in what was ultimately another 12-0 run, before the lead switched sides on a Panther three-pointer on the next possession. Reus answered on the following Lobo possession to put UNM back in front 59-57, and after EIU tied the game, hit a pull up jumper off of a Wilson offensive board for the Lobo lead.
A Kohl three-pointer extended the lead to five at 64-59 a little past the midway point of the quarter, the first career made three-pointer for the Lobo center. After a Cumber layup made it 66-62 with 1:37 remaining, EIU closed the Lobo lead on its next two possessions to tie the game back up at 66 with 17 seconds remaining.
Each team had a final possession with the Lobos missing a floater in the lane and Augmon blocking the Panthers’ final shot to send the game into overtime.
Reus scored 10 points in the fourth on 4-5 shooting and two three-pointers as UNM outscored EIU 17-12 in the quarter.
The Panthers opened the extra period with a jumper, to which Cumber drained a three-pointer on UNM’s first possession to put UNM up. Eastern Illinois took a 76-71 lead with 1:58 to play, with Wilson responding with a layup, finishing through the contact and converting at the line for the three-point play.
Following two free throws by EIU with 1:17 on the clock that made it 78-74, UNM closed with the final seven points. The run started with a Kohl layup off of an offensive rebound, also drawing the foul in the process and making the free throw for the 78-77 score with 1:05 left. EIU committed a turnover on its next possession and Cumber gave the Lobos the lead with 32 seconds remaining on a turnaround jumper. The defense continued to deliver down the stretch, forcing a bad pass with 11 seconds left to get the ball back. After calling a timeout to advance the ball, the Lobos inbounded the ball with Cumber drawing the foul to send the Albuquerque native to the line with seven seconds left, where she promptly drained them both.
Down to the final seconds, EIU got a look in the corner that hit off the rim with Cumber pulling down the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
With the win, the Lobos improve to 5-2 on the season. The Lobos had the advantage in points off turnover (22-15), points in the paint (36-20), second-chance points (15-9), in rebounds (47-46) and in free throws, going 18-21 from the line with Wilson going 6-6.
UNM remains at home to host New Mexico State on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Coach Mike Bradbury
Vianè Cumber & Paula Reus