LUBBOCK, TX – Western New Mexico finished the game on an 18-7 run, keeping Lubbock Christian off the ground 2-11 in the final 7:03 of the game as the Mustangs picked up their first win over the Chaps since 1977, knocking out LCU 76- 67 at the Rip Griffin Center on Saturday January 14th.
The Mustangs (10-6, 4-6 LSC) quickly took the lead thanks to a layup from Olamide Pedersen and a DJ Heath three-pointer to take a 5-0 lead. Despite a three out Kendall DowLayups by Pedersen and Tony Avalos gave Western New Mexico a 13-6 advantage with 15:21 in the first half.
The chaps (10-6, 6-4 LSC) started to get back in the game thanks to five quick points Russell Harrison. A pair of layups by Kurt Wegscheider Tie the game at 15 points apiece before both teams traded buckets. Najib Muhammad sank a three to give the Chaps their first lead of the game at 8:22 in the first half and went 22-19 ahead.
Emmanuel White leveled the game for WNMU, and Joshuwa Johnson started a 7-0 run alone, knocking down a three, sliding inside for a layup and unloading two shots from the charity streak to give the Stangs a 32-28 advantage To provide . Dow made another three-pointer to bring the chaps within one, but jumpers from Avalos and Isaiah Lewis swelled Mustange’s bulge to 36-34, staying 2:16 in the opening salvo. A three of Rowan Mackenzie The tie was 37, and then the junior nailed a jumper off the wing with 44 seconds left to give the Chaparrals a 39-37 advantage at half-time.
The back-and-forth continued early in the second half before Johnson put the Mustangs back in the lead at 45-44 with another connection from downtown. Karhan Jones finished the game with his first three of the season for the chaps, and the contest was 52-52 round, with 11-14 remaining in the game.
A triple by Muhammad and a layup by Russell Harrison left LCU with a 57-54 advantage with 9:02, but the Mustangs responded with an Avalos layup. Muhammad hit another three to put the chaps ahead 60-57, with 7:03 remaining in contention. Western New Mexico opened its run with a jumper from Jaylin McFadden, leveling the game at 60-60 by 5:56 from a Johnson free throw.
WNMU finally took the lead from a Heath jumper and then, after another Heath shot, took a 66-62 lead with 3:48 to go. Amarion Cash pinned a three-pointer to push the Mustangs’ lead to 69-62, but Mackenzie hit a three-pointer himself to reduce the lead to 69-65 with 1:21 remaining. Wegscheider finished with a layup with 1:04 points remaining to reduce the score to 70-67, but a McFadden block resulted in a dunk from Pedersen at the other end, capping the game, and Western New Mexico won by 76 -67 against the LCU.
The win is Western New Mexico’s first win at the Rip Griffin Center and the first win over the Chaps since December 20, 1977, when the Mustangs won 98-78 in Alamosa, Colorado. The LCU had won six meetings in a row since the two conferences became enemies in 2020.
The Chaps went just 9-to-14 from the free-throw line (64.3 percent), their second-worst mark in a game in which LCU attempted at least 10 free throws this season. Lubbock Christian went just 6 to 11 (54.5 percent) from the strip against Regis on Nov. 11. LCU missed all three front-end shots on their one-and-one chances in the second half.
Despite the loss, Mackenzie and Harrison flirted with double-doubles. Mackenzie scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, going 3-for-4 from deep and shooting 7-for-10 from the field. Harrison scored 16 points and collected seven rebounds. The Lubbock native also recorded a block.
Avalos led the Mustangs by 17 points. Pedersen finished with a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds and two blocks. Western New Mexico scored 36 points off the bench and passed the chaps 41-28, the most rebounds for an LCU opponent this season.
Lubbock Christian will embark on a four-game road trip this week, traveling to Tyler on Thursday, January 19 to face the UT Tyler Patriots. The first pick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m