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(Friday, November 16th)
Final Score: New Mexico 66, Illinois-Chicago 59
St. Thomas, VI (Sports Network) - Kendall Williams poured in a career-high 23 points on Thursday to lift New Mexico over Illinois-Chicago, 66-59, in a first-round matchup at the Paradise Jam from the UVI Sports and Fitness Center.
Demetrius Walker netted 13 points and Hugh Greenwood chipped in nine points and nine rebounds for the Lobos (2-0), who were coming off an 86-81 victory over Davidson on Tuesday in their season opener.
Hayden Humes sparked the Flames with 16 points, while Gary Talton added 14 points and Daniel Barnes donated 11 points for Illinois-Chicago (1-1), which defeated UC Riverside, 59-52, to open its season on Sunday.
UIC trailed just 17-16 after a Humes layup, but Walker scored 11 straight points for the Lobos as part of a 16-5 surge to give New Mexico a 33-21 advantage with over two minutes left in the half.
Walker added a layup late in the first to send the Lobos into the locker room with a 37-23 lead.
A quick 7-0 spurt from the Flames cut the deficit to five less than eight minutes into the second before a Josh Crittle layup trimmed the margin to 48-44 with 7:10 left in the game.
UIC pulled within two on a pair of free throws from Talton with 3:28 left, but the Lobos answered with a 4-0 flurry to take a 58-52 lead with under a minute remaining.
Talton hit a pair from the charity stripe on the other end before Barnes picked the pocket of Williams and finished a layup to make it a two-point game with 34 ticks on the clock.
The Lobos, though, went 8-of-8 from the line down the stretch to hang on for the victory.
New Mexico will face George Mason on Sunday, while UIC faces Mercer on Saturday.
11/16 22:41:11 ET
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