Environmental factors contributed heavily to New Mexico’s close 86-81 win over Davidson in the graveyard shift game of the Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. Altitude played a big factor, as did a force of nature by the name of Tony Snell.
The rangy 6’7″ Lobo guard displayed his full arsenal of skills in bringing his team back from a 45-31 halftime deficit. Snell, a junior, played all 40 minutes of the game, and did everything his team needed him to do, finishing with 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He did it with volume shooting, hitting just 7-22 from the field, but the “how” of it hardly mattered.
Snell’s heroics eclipsed a strong effort from the visiting Wildcats, who felt every minute of a 2:00 am ET start. The shots that fell in the first half began to go awry in the second, as altitude and sleep deprivation took hold. De’Mon Brooks led the visitors with 22 points, but could not replicate Snell’s Iron Man showing. No Wildcat played more than J.P. Kuhlman’s 31 minutes, but Davidson’s troops looked worn by the end, nonetheless.
Davidson’s future opponents should be forewarned – few places sap the vitality from a team like the Pit can. Your venue’s mileage may vary. Bob McKillop’s team is smart, tough and talented, and they’ll be ready to snatch the SoCon crown by season’s end. The Lobos, on the other hand, must go through both No. 25 San Diego State and No. 18 UNLV to make a living in the highly fluid Mountain West, and they’ll need a consistent showing from Snell and his mates before they can stack that cheddar.