Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Joe Furstinger set a career high for the second straight game, finishing with 20 points to lead New Mexico to an 87-78 win over Prairie View A&M on Friday.
Furstinger, who also had 10 rebounds, did most of his damage from the line, hitting all 12 of his attempts. Antino Jackson added 17 points for the Lobos (5-8).
"I think the last two teams have been teams that haven't had great size," New Mexico coach Paul Weir said of the Lobos last two opponents. "Poor Joe has been up there against Arizona and everybody else and he's just trying to hold his own. He's gotten through that and we've gone against Rice and Prairie View and they just don't have quite those same bigs. It just took him some time."
Zachary Hamilton, who at one point in the second half scored 12 straight points for the Panthers (2-11), finished with a season-high 31 points as they lost their seventh straight. Hamilton also scored 31 against Alcorn State in January 2016.
The game turned early in the second half after the Panthers had used a 9-0 run to close within 51-50, New Mexico responded with a 16-2 run that included four 3-consecutive pointers, pushing the lead to 67-52. Dane Kuiper, who had 14 points, polished off the run with back-to-back baseline 3s.
"They didn't do that a lot in the first half," Panthers coach Byron Smith said of 3-point shots. "I think we played off them a little bit because they're drive was hurting us in the paint. Kind of backed off a little bit and dared them on a couple of opportunities. And they went down. And they got some transition 3-pointers."
Prairie View: This was the culmination of a season-opening, 13-game road trip for Prairie View. The Panthers' travel itinerary that has taken them to every time zone in the U.S. other than Alaska, included stops at Utah, Oregon, UNLV, Hawai'i and No. 7 Texas A&M, among others.
"Being on the road as long as we have and being all over the place, there's a lot of teams that don't have the Prairie View fight and heart," Smith said. "They probably would have just shut it down."
New Mexico: The Lobos have won consecutive games for first time since the opening two games of the season.
"Hopefully we can get a little wind in our sails now and take this going forward," Weir said.
The game was won at the line, where the Lobos went 20-for-24, while Prairie View was 9-for-17.
"We kind of have been dealing with that a little bit," Smith said. "We're used to it. There's not a lot we can do. We just have to keep playing. They do get a little frustrated. It would be nice if we could get some more attempts from the line. It would help a lot."
New Mexico's 3-point shooting turned completely around in the second with a 7-for-17 performance after going 4-for-13 in the first half.
Prairie View: The Panthers next face Jarvis Christian at home in the final tune up before Southwestern Athletic Conference play starts Jan. 1 against Alcorn State.
New Mexico: Faces Air Force on Wednesday in the finale of a four-game home stand. It will be the opener of the Mountain West schedule for both schools. The Falcons ended a three-losing streak Friday with a 111-68 win over NAIA school Johnson & Wales.
"We already started on Air Force," Weir said. "They got film going in the locker room. We already gave them some scouting reports. It's full go here now. Right now, we're just going to prepare for Air Force. There's no talks about the conference or any other teams, any other goals or agenda or anything."