San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Roman Martinez scored 19 points, and Dairese Gary added 15, including some big free throws down the stretch, as New Mexico held off Montana, 62-57 in a first-round game from the East Region of the NCAA Tournament.
Darington Hobson overcame a scary fall in the first half and finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the third-seeded Lobos (30-4), who will play Washington on Saturday. The Huskies earned a dramatic 80-78 win over Marquette earlier Thursday at HP Pavilion.
This the first time the Lobos have won an NCAA tourney game since 1999, when they beat Missouri in the first round before falling to eventual champion Connecticut in round two.
Brian Qvale had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies (22-10), who nearly rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half but fell to 2-9 all-time in the tournament.
Ryan Staudacher's three-pointer moved Montana to a 32-29 lead less than a minute into the second half, but the Lobos scored the next 17 to seemingly take command. Gary started the burst with a layup, and Martinez finished it with a basket from in close with under 13 minutes left.
The Grizzlies continued to hang around, though, and Qvale's layup had the underdogs within 53-52 with nearly four minutes left.
Gary was able to make seven free throws after that point to have the Lobos hold on.
Ahead 59-56 with over a minute left, Gary came up with a crucial steal, stripping the ball from Anthony Johnson, who ended up going just 1-of-12 from the field for Montana.
Gary made 1-of-2 ensuing foul shots, but Derek Selvig made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe for the Grizzlies with 22.4 seconds left for a 60-57 margin.
Two missed free throws from Gary opened the door one final time for the Grizzlies, but Will Cherry's drive to the basket came up empty. Martinez sank a pair of foul shots with 13.5 seconds left to seal the triumph.
"I think it's disruptive to your opponent when their leading scorer goes 1-for-12, and that makes others have to increase their role and increasing roles in this month becomes difficult," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. "So I was pleased with the way we battled. I thought we were...flat is not the word, but I thought we were a little deer in the headlights, in the first 20 minutes."
It was tight throughout the first half, with Montana gaining a 29-28 edge after 20 minutes. New Mexico received a scare with nearly 7 1/2 minutes left when Hobson drove the baseline, was upended and landed on his side. He suffered a slight wrist injury.
Qvale went 12-of-16 from the field...Montana ended at 40.7 percent, compared to 41.5 for the Lobos...The Lobos were facing Montana for the 24th time, but it was the first meeting since 1962. UNM and Montana were each members of the old Skyline Conference from 1950-62. The Grizzlies have a 16-8 lead in the series.