Chris Newsome stole the ball with 11 seconds left and, after drawing a foul, sank one of two free throws to preserve a hard-fought 90-84 win by New Mexico Highlands men’s basketball team against host Colorado-Colorado Springs on Saturday night.
The final minute proved crucial.
Alan Paul’s dunk had given the Mountain Lions an 84-82 lead with a minute left in regulation.
Thomas Manzano answered with an old-school three-point play, making it 85-84.
Ledreece Smith blocked Lamar Hill’s shot on the other end and he kicked the ball to Newsome for a layup and an 87-84 edge.
Newsome then plucked the ball away from Rob Howe and made a foul shot to make it a four-point margin with 11 seconds left.
After Newsome missed the second free throw, Springs’ Howe grabbed the board. But Smith stole the ball and drew a foul; he swished both free throws to seal the final score.
The victory salvaged a split of the two-game Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road trip. Coach Joe Harge’s Cowboys are now 14-5 overall and 10-5 in the RMAC.
Manzano, who had 31 points in Friday’s loss at Colorado State-Pueblo, scored 21 this time. Newsome finished with 18, including three shots from long range, plus seven rebounds. And Momcilo Latinovic had 16 points and seven boards.
Earlier in the evening, Highlands’ Cowgirls led throughout the game in collecting their fourth straight victory, a 77-68 win at CUCS.
Briana Gholston got 13 of her game-high 23 points at the free-throw line, and Whitley Coca recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
China Smith, the hero in Friday’s win at Pueblo, had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Gholston’s stat line also included six boards, four assists and four steals.
The Mountain Lion women closed to within 46-45 at one point in the second half, but an
Ashley Godfrey layup and later two free throws by Gholston gave the visitors some breathing room.
NMHU (10-12, 6-9) led by as many as 15.