ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Abel Porter’s 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left and just as the shot clock expired gave Utah State a 68-66 win Saturday over New Mexico.
With the Lobos (9-11, 3-5 Mountain West) leading 66-65, Anthony Mathis was called for a controversial backcourt violation with 31 seconds left.
The Aggies (15-5, 5-2) ran the clock down then Sam Merrill got caught on the outside and he forced a low pass to Porter, who scooped it up and fired for the game-winner.
Mathis had a half-court shot hit iron and bounce away at the buzzer.
By pounding the ball inside to Neemias Queta and relying on Merrill, who finished with 22 points, on the perimeter, the Aggies ran off to an early 22-8 lead.
Then it was just a matter of New Mexico chiseling away at the deficit.
It helped that after missing their first nine 3-pointers, the Lobos’ Keith McGee hit one with four minutes remaining in the first half and was followed by consecutive 3s from Makuach Maluach to cut it to 27-22.
The Lobos took their first lead since the opening seconds at 62-61 after Mathis hit a 3 with 5:33 left, his fourth of the second half. He finished 16, all coming in the second half, and Carlton Bragg had 18 points. Brock Miller added 16 for the Aggies.
Utah State: The win moves Utah State into a third-place tie with Fresno State, which lost to Colorado State on Saturday.
New Mexico: With a win, New Mexico would have moved into a fourth-place tie with the Aggies, but the loss drops the Lobos into the bottom third of the conference.
Utah State: Home Wednesday to meet San José State.
New Mexico: Plays Feb. 2 at Fresno State.