ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A 1,220-mile bus trip, a gimpy ankle and a nationally ranked opponent were no hindrance to South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters against No. 16 New Mexico.
Wolters scored 28 points and handed out seven assists, leading South Dakota State to a 70-65 upset of No. 16 New Mexico on Saturday.
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Myron Medcalf caught up with the road-weary Jackrabbits after they pulled off an upset of a 16th-ranked New Mexico team that was previously unbeaten. Blog
"I definitely wasn't 100 percent," Wolters said. "But once I got going I just tried to feed off my teammates. It felt pretty good out there."After a loss to Belmont, the Jackrabbits had to take a bus from Nashville, Tenn., because of a snowstorm."It wasn't very fun, crossing the country, especially after a loss and the way we played on Wednesday, so this was big for us and we have to feed off it," Wolters said.Kendall Williams scored 21 to lead the Lobos, who went 7 of 12 from the foul line in the closing minutes to frustrate their own comeback efforts.Wolters' ankle has been hampered his play of late, so much so that Jackrabbits coach Scott Nagy warned him he might watch a good bit of the game from the bench."I told him if I see what I've seen in the past few games, I was going to sit him down because he couldn't get by anybody," Nagy said. "He had no burst. Maybe that's what he needed to decide to give his ankle a try. And he pushed his ankle today and he did pretty well."Jordan Dykstra had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Jackrabbits, who went 10 for 11 from the line down the stretch to preserve their lead. Chad White added 13 points for South Dakota State and Brayden Carlson had 10.The Jackrabbits (10-4) led the final 37 minutes of the game after taking the lead with an early 8-0 run.Wolters' 3-pointer with 4:49 left in the first half gave South Dakota State its largest lead at 35-23. But the Lobos (12-1) closed the half with an 11-3 run to trail 38-34 entering the second half."The Wolters kid is the real deal and as a good a point guard as we've played all year," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. "I thought he really controlled the game for 40 minutes and did a really good job of running their team. You can tell that he's their leader and other guys play very well off of him."New Mexico never got closer than three points the rest of the way. Williams, the team's leading scorer for the season, sat out the first 5:33 after he and fellow starter Chad Adams arrived late.
New Mexico's 12-0 start was tied for the 2nd-best in school history. The only better start was in 1967-68 (17-0).
New Mexico had won 35 straight December HOME games prior to its loss to South Dakota State. Its last such loss was December 22, 2004 vs No. 5 Wake Forest. Its last home loss in December to an unranked team was Dec. 6, 2003 vs Texas Tech.