A late first-half surge sparked New Mexico to a 76-57 victory over the UNI Panthers at The Pit (WisePies Arena) in Albuquerque Saturday evening (Dec. 12, 2015).

The opening 19 minutes was a back-and-forth battle that featured eight lead changes and six ties. UNI (6-3 overall) opened the game with a 7-1 advantage, while the Lobos mixed their first six shots. New Mexico, however, eliminated the deficit and took the lead with an 8-0 run.

Neither team led by more than a field goal until the final minute of the first half. The Lobos (6-2 overall) caught fire down the stretch, draining seven of their last eight shots. New Mexico entered the break on an 8-0 run and owned a 35-27 lead at halftime.

Source: UNI Athletics

The Panthers had a chance to get back into the game early in the second half after cutting the deficit to 44-38. But they botched consecutive fast break opportunities and threw it away on the next possession. That helped start the Lobos on a quick 7-0 burst that pushed the score to 51-38.

New Mexico never trailed by more than nine points the rest of way and ended the game on a 14-5 run over the last four minutes.

Elijah Brown scored a game-high 25 points for the Lobo on 9-for-15 shooting and led New Mexico with seven rebounds. Teammate Tim Williams added 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

UNI particularly struggled with the deep ball, going 6-of-25 from 3-point range. After committing a season-low four turnovers against George Mason on Tuesday night, the Panthers turned the ball over six times in the first half Saturday and finished with 15.

Wyatt Lohaus led UNI with 12 points off the bench. Leading scorer Wes Washpun tallied 10, six below his average.

UP NEXT: UNI faces the No. 2/4-ranked Iowa State Cyclones in the Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday (Dec. 19). Tip-off is scheduled at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. The Iowa Hawkeyes play the Drake Bulldogs in the early game at 3:30 p.m.

Courtesy: New Mexico Lobos via YouTube