ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In basketball, you’re supposed to make more than the other guy, right?
Well, not if you get to the free throw line like the No. 15 New Mexico Lobos do.
Through Wednesday’s games, UNM was the only team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 to have made fewer field goals (413) than its opponents this season (416), and it really isn’t even close.
None of the other 24 ranked teams have fewer than a 50 field goal advantage over their opponents this season (Missouri is at plus-50 with 487 field goals to 437 while eight ranked teams have more than a plus-100 advantage). The rest of the AP Top 25 is averaging 94.5 more made field goals this season than their opponents.
So how then is a team like UNM that is at minus-3 in the field goals made category sitting at 17-2 overall (4-0 in Mountain West play) with a No. 15 national ranking?
They continue to dominate opponents at the free throw line, having made 368 free throws (of 499 for a 73.7 percent clip) compared to opponents shooting 199-of-294 (67.7 percent).
In Wednesday’s win over Colorado State, the Lobos were 21-of-26 from the free throw line.
“That tells me we’re aggressive and we are taking advantage of a very important part of the game and that’s the free throw line,” UNM head coach Steve Alford said.