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Updated: Saturday, March 1, 2003 8:42 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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New Mexico 76, (23) Utah 69
UTAH UTES
Utah Utes
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NEW MEXICO LOBOS
New Mexico Lobos
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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Ruben Douglas started March even hotter than he ended February.

New Mexico's senior guard scored 39 points - 26 from the free-throw line - and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds as the Lobos upended No. 23 Utah, 76-69, in a Mountain West Conference matchup.

Javin Tindall added 15 points for New Mexico (10-15, 4-8 MWC), which snapped a two-game losing streak and beat a ranked opponent for the first time since February 19, 2000.

In front of a crowd of 16,113 at The Pit that turned out to help the school celebrate its 100th season, Douglas added to his 28.5 points per game scoring average - tops in the nation. Douglas was just 5-of-17 from the field but 26-of-31 from the line.

The 26 free throws made were four shy of Pete Maravich's NCAA record set on December 22, 1969. Douglas averaged 34 points per game in February, including a career-high 43 points in a loss to San Diego State on Monday.

No Lobo ever has led the nation in scoring.

Most of Douglas' damage from the line came in the final 82 seconds as he sank 9-of-10 attempts down the stretch. Douglas' 26 free throws obliterated Tony Roybal's 47-year-old record of 19.

Marc Jackson led Utah (21-5, 9-2) with 16 points. Richard Chaney had 14 and Tim Drisdom and Nick Jacobson 11 apiece for the Utes, who had a conference-record nine-game winning streak snapped.

New Mexico, which is down to seven scholarship players, had lost back-to-back games and six of eight.

Utah held an early 6-5 lead when Douglas heated up, scoring eight straight points. After Tim Frost had a jumper for Utah, Tindall had a three-point play for a 16-8 edge midway through the half.

Douglas kept Utah at bay throughout the first half. On two occasions, the Utes got within four and each time Douglas hit free throws. When Utah closed within 25-22 in the final minute of the first half, Ryan Ashcraft hit two free throws for a five-point halftime edge.

Utah shot just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) in the opening half while New Mexico was even worse, converting 26.9 percent (7-of-26) of its opportunities. The Utes never attempted a free throw over the first 20 minutes while the Lobos were 10-of-13.

Douglas opened the second half with a 3-pointer and two free throws for a 32-22 edge. A 3-pointer by Jackson midway through the second half got Utah within 44-38 but Tindall had a three-point play and Mark Walters a jumper around a basket by Frost.

Walters added two free throws with 8:45 to go, pushing the Lobos' lead to 11. Utah never got closer than five the rest of the way, and each time it did, Douglas hit two free throws.

New Mexico shot 56 percent (9-of-16) in the second half.

Utah was 12-for-40 from beyond the arc in the contest.


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