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Lobos' Williams warming up just in time

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Kendall Williams has had a bit of a timing problem for No. 14 New Mexico this season.

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The junior guard did not start two games because he was late to team functions. One of those times, he watched the entire game from the bench.

There was nothing wrong with Williams' timing Saturday. He dropped a career best 46 points on then-No. 16 Colorado State, including a school- and Mountain West-record 10 3-pointers in the 91-82 win.

Williams' performance, which equaled the third-highest point total in school history, was better than anything his coach, noted long-range sniper Steve Alford, managed to do while playing at Indiana.

``There's not too many times you can one-up him on, especially from a shooting standpoint,'' Williams said. ``But it was one of those nights where they wanted to fall.''

Alford, whose career-best was 42 points and eight 3-pointers, said it was something to watch.

``In my era, in my six years here, there probably hasn't been an individual performance quite like that,'' he said. ``He took care of the ball. He defended.''

And Williams did it on just 16 shots from the field.

``I was definitely in the zone,'' he said. ``I just stepped up with confidence and it was truly one of those big games. I wanted to go out there and lead more than anything, but since the shot was falling, I really was able to make a statement offensively and it was very special.''

New Mexico (23-4, 10-2 MWC) enters Wednesday's home game against San Diego State with a two-game lead in the conference. A sweep of its last two home games, it plays Wyoming on Saturday, will give New Mexico the conference title outright and the top seed in the Mountain West tournament.

But neither Alford nor Williams said he needs to put together a similar game for the Lobos to win.

``I don't expect Kendall to get 46 against San Diego State,'' Alford said. ``I expect him to provide the role that we expect him to do. He's one of our leading scorers. He's one of our go-to guys. . But to think he all of a sudden has to average 40, I don't think is going to happen.''

Trying to settle down after such a performance may be the most difficult aspect to Wednesday's game, Williams said.

``It's tough, but at the same rate, I was back in the gym practicing, trying to get my mind focused and trying to get the touch again and stay confident,'' he said. ``I know I probably won't have another 46-point night on Wednesday, but if I can make some shots and play good defense and stick to the system, as long as we get the win, that's all that matters. I just want to stay consistent for the team.''

Still, it was a game that will go down in Lobos lore, senior forward Chad Adams said.

``Just being there to witness that was crazy,'' he said. ``He couldn't miss. Everything he threw up was going in. To see somebody feeling that was incredible. He had never dropped that many points. It was amazing.''

Adams is among the players who help Williams stay on time. No need for any more benchings, after all.

``Being the senior leader, we try to help each other out,'' Adams said. ``He's our team leader and ... he's been a lot better about things like that. We try to set three alarm clocks apiece.''

It's something Williams said is in the past.

``I've put more importance on being punctual and focusing on all the little stuff,'' he said. ``Being a leader is more consistency than anything. In terms of all that, it's obviously something that I slipped on and you try not to let that set you back too much. I learned my lesson and you build from them. I've been watching my Ps and Qs really. I enjoy the game of basketball too much to let other stuff throw me off my game.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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