Elijah Brown hit a game-winning shot with 18 seconds left in the second half to give the Lobos a thrilling 78-77 win over the UTEP Miners on Wednesday Night at Wise Pies Arena, AKA the Pit.
Brown led the Lobos in scoring with 25 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the floor, including 3 of 7 from behind the arc. It wasn’t the highest scoring game of Brown’s career, but his game winning basket in the closing seconds might be the biggest shot in his two seasons with the Lobos.
The basket secured a victory for the Lobos after UNM blew a 21-point first half lead.
UTEP’s impressive comeback was fueled by freshman guard Deon Barrett, who scored a career-high 25 points off the bench for head coach Tim Floyd, including an impressive seven three point baskets.
“I just tried to be ready when I got the chance to play. My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball and creating opportunities for me. It was a hard-fought game,” said Barrett after the game in a quote to the El Paso Times.
“After the tough early start we settled down,” Barrett said. “We just stayed focused, ran the offense and began to do some good things on defense. We made strides as a team in this game.”
The Miners indeed settled down after UNM’s hot start, closing the gap to just nine points at the break.
Barrett hit a three point shot with 9:41 left in the second half to give the Miners a 64-63 lead, quieting a restless Pit crowd not accustomed to teams mounting such a large comeback in the storied building.
The two teams exchanged baskets over the next eight-plus minutes before Barrett hit a trey with 30 seconds to play to give the Miners a three-point lead.
Instead of trying to tie the game, UNM opted for a quick basket by Jordan Hunter to cut the lead to one.
A critical missed free throw by Dominic Artis gave the Lobos a chance to take the final shot of the game, with Brown coming through in the clutch with an 18-foot jumper.
It was a great ending to a great game, one of many between these two former rivals.
“Elijah Brown made a great shot at the end,” Floyd said. “Early on UNM made some great shots. I don’t think we played scared. We got back into the game, we settled down and and did a lot of great things.”
The win gives the Lobos a 77-65 advantage in the all-time record between the two programs.
The Lobos continue their regular season slate with a road game against in-state rival New Mexico State on Saturday Night. Be sure to listen live and in stereo sound on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM.