Utes beat Lobos on 3-pointer at buzzer
Albuquerque, N.M. • With leading scorer Will Clyburn on the bench with a foot injury, the Runnin' Utes needed someone to step up and play big in their game against the New Mexico Lobos.
Who would have guessed that player would be little-used sophomore guard Chris Hines?
Hines, starting for just the second time in 13 games, hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Utah a 62-60 win against the Lobos (17-10, 5-7) Saturday, stunning the crowd of 15,333 at The Pit.
The win was the first there for the Utes (12-15, 5-8) since the 2002 season.
Hines finished with a career-high 15 points, with all his baskets coming from 3-point distance. He was averaging just two points and 10 minutes a game before Saturday's effort.
The last play developed after New Mexico's Phillip McDonald missed a free throw with 17 seconds remaining.
Utah's Jason Washburn got the rebound to set up the final play that went from Josh Watkins to J.J. O'Brien to Shawn Glover to Hines.
"I kept my eye on the clock, so when I got the ball, I knew I had to get it up as soon as I could," Hines said. "As soon as it left my fingertips, it felt good, but I had to ask the Lord for a little bit of help."
His teammates were saying their own prayers as they watched Hines' shot develop.
"My heart sunk when he fumbled it," said center David Foster, who had five blocks, leaving him one away from tying Luke Nevill's Utah career record of 205 set from 2005-09. "He got it back, and he can elevate and he lifts it up, so I guess the bank is open on Saturday nights."
Josh Watkins added 15 points, and Shawn Glover had 12.
Dairese Gary led the Lobos with 21 points, and Drew Gordon had 17 points and 23 rebounds, which was a MWC record for a game.
New Mexico coach Steve Alford described the defeat as another of many tough losses for the Lobos, who thought they had Hines covered.
"We did a nice job defensively, and he just made a trey from 35 to 40 feet out," he said. "You have to make plays. Tonight, they did and we didn't. They beat us 9-4 from the three-point line, and that's been the tale of the tape lately."
The Utes held the Lobos to just 19-of-53 shooting, helping them chip away at a 13-point deficit in the second half.
"We've been there before, and we didn't panic," Utah coach Jim Boylen said. "We didn't try to get it all back at once. We whittled it down and changed our defenses and got stops."
Boylen said he decided to start Hines because he wanted to leave guard Chris Kupets coming off the bench due to of the energy he brings to that role.
"Hines stepped up," said Boylen, choking up as he talked. "My guys talked yesterday about not having won at this building in a long time, and it meant something to come here and play well and give themselves a chance to win."
Utah 62,New Mexico 60
R In short • The Runnin' Utes win in The Pit for the first time since 2002, as Chris Hines hits a buzzer-beater.
Key stat • All Hines' baskets come from 3-point distance, where he finishes 5 of 8.