Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Lobos Sluggish in Win.(Sports)

Byline: Mark Smith Journal Staff Writer

Poor Shooting, Particularly at the Line, Hampers Them

Maybe it was a result of playing in the afternoon. Maybe it was the long, bizarre week. Or maybe, it was simply a matter of getting into the Christmas' spirit.

Whatever the case, the University of New Mexico men's basketball team was in an extremely charitable mood Saturday afternoon but still had enough Scrooge in it to hold off Mercer 69-62 at the Pit.

The Bears (5-5) were the latest bunch to take the lead role in this season's version of "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight," and performed even worse than the Lobos from the floor. While New Mexico (7-1) shot a season-low 39 percent (21 of 54), Mercer hit a paltry 36.5 percent (23 of 63).

When it came to free throws, it got downright ridiculous. One game after their best outing from the line (13 of 15 in a 68-56 win over Furman), the Lobos took the term "charity stripe" to heart. They donated 16 misses out of their first 24 attempts.

That allowed Mercer to trim a late 16-point deficit to five before the Lobos recovered. …

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