No. 19 New Mexico can count on its four veterans to lead the way.
The starters back from last year's Mountain West champions combined for 55 points to help the Lobos bounce back from the season's first loss. They beat Davidson 79-58 to take third place at the Charleston Classic on Sunday.
Cameron Bairstow scored 18 points, and Alex Kirk had his fifth double-double in as many games with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Kendall Williams scored 12 points, while backcourt mate Hugh Greenwood added nine points and 10 rebounds for New Mexico (4-1).
"I know what I'm going to get out of my four guys," said first-year coach Craig Neal. "I was hoping and praying that we'd bounce back and I thought we did. But it was because of our leadership, because of our four major guys that have come back."
The Lobos aren't happy with their tournament results -- "We came here to win," Neal said. But they believe they've made progress at blending in new players in the rotation.
"It's not frustrating, but sometimes you're like, `All right, let's move on," Kirk said of the mistakes that come early on in team building. "They're learning and they're getting better each day. And that's all the emphasis we're putting on them."
There's evidence the growing pains are easing.
Sophomore Cleveland Thomas had the go-ahead 3-pointer Thursday in New Mexico's wild 97-94 double-overtime win against UAB. Freshman Cullen Neal, the coach's son, had 15 points and three 3-pointers against Davidson.
"Us, the older guys, we do like to see that," Kirk said.
The Lobos (4-1) had hoped to be playing in the eight-team tournament's title game, but fell to Massachusetts 81-65 on Friday. The 7-foot Kirk took full advantage of Davidson's size disadvantage and largely had his way inside. It was the junior's 15th career game with double figures in points and rebounds. Kirk also had three blocks.
Davidson tried to negate New Mexico's edge in height with some long-distance shooting, attempting 20 3-pointers in the opening half. But the strategy came up short as the Wildcats fell to 1-5 for the second time in five years.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop had led the school to seven NCAA tournaments in 25 years, including the past two seasons as Southern Conference champions. He says the Wildcats won't wallow in their rough start.
"I know darn well that they're down," he said of his players. "They don't accept losing. They're not going to rationalize it. They're going to say, `I have to improve this. I have to improve that.' And they'll work at it."
Davidson entered with a well-earned reputation as a slayer of college basketball giants. This group has so far struggled against the big boys with its losses to Duke, Virginia, Clemson and New Mexico. The Wildcats have North Carolina and Wichita State ahead next month before league play starts in January.
Brooks, the preseason Southern Conference player of the year, wore his warm-up suit and used crutches to get on and off the court Sunday, holding his right leg up off the ground as he walked.
There was no official word about the extent of Brooks' injury, and McKillop didn't know how long he might be out. The Wildcats don't play again until Nov. 30 at Stetson.
Without Brooks, who was hurt Friday, Davidson had little chance of hanging down low with Kirk, Bairstow and the taller, physical Lobos.
Kirk had nine of his team's first 13 points. The Wildcats tightened up around the 7-footer after that, running two or three players at him each time he caught the ball. That opened space for Bairstow.
Dalton Pepper had a career-high 24 points and Temple pulled away from UAB in the second half to take fifth place at the Charleston Classic with an 87-66 victory Sunday night.
Pepper's previous mark came just two days ago here in an 83-81 win over Georgia. He kept up that scoring touch against UAB, making 10 of 14 for the Owls (3-3). Quenton DeCoseyhad 18 points for Temple, which has won two straight after breaking a three-game losing streak in the win against the Bulldogs on Friday night.
The Owls trailed 43-41 early in the second half when they began a 36-13 run to take control.
UAB (4-2) falls for the second time at TD Arena, losing a 97-94 double-overtime heartbreak to No. 19 New Mexico in its tournament opener Thursday.
C.J. Washington had a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers.
UAB's Chad Frazier scored 34 and 32 points in his first two tournament games, but struggled against Temple's defense and finished with 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Pepper's layup with 6:18 left gave Temple its largest lead at 77-56. The Blazers cut that to 12 points down the stretch, but got no closer.
UAB and Temple each lost opening-round games here and bounced back with victories on Friday.
The Blazers held a six-point lead on No. 19 New Mexico in regulation and a five-point lead on the Lobos in the first overtime before falling 97-94 in two extra periods. Instead of hanging their heads, the Blazers rallied late to put away Nebraska and reach the fifth-place game.
Temple was stung by Clemson and its sizeable crowd of supporters at TD Arena on Thursday night. Again, the Owls dug in Friday to overcome a late Georgia rally and pick up a dramatic victory.
Temple led the Bulldogs by 13 points at the half, but were down 81-80 with 18.8 seconds left on Charles Mann's driving bucket. Owls guard Cummings answered back quickly with a 3-pointer with seven seconds to go that lifted his team to an 83-81 victory.
UAB and Temple each wanted to carry over the momentum from those wins into this one. And while it figured to be a matchup of high-scoring guards in UAB's Frazier and Temple's Cummings, neither made a big impact early on.
Frazier had only one basket and 5 points in the opening half.
Cummings picked up two fouls in the first five minutes and spent much of the period on the bench. He also had 5 points the first 20 minutes.
Tai Webster scored 13 of his 14 points in the second half and Nebraska rallied to take seventh place at the Charleston Classic with a 73-65 victory over Georgia on Sunday.
The Cornhuskers (4-2) had watched close games slip away their first two days in the eight-team tournament and were trailing the Bulldogs 51-48 with under 10 minutes left. That's when Webster led Nebraska on a 23-13 run to close the game and avoid a 0-for-3 trip to South Carolina's coast.
Webster had seven points in the charge, including a 3-pointer with 7:44 left that put the Cornhuskers up for good.
Georgia got within a point after Marcus Thornton's basket a possession later, but Webster followed with two foul shots and the Bulldogs got no closer. Georgia opened 1-4 for the second straight season. Charles Mann scored 16 points to lead the Bulldogs.
Terran Petteway had 15 points to top Nebraska.
Georgia struggled at the foul line going 16 of 30 overall and 6 of 15 in the second half after coming in hitting more than 74 percent of its free throws. Nebraska made 22 of 27 at the foul line and Petteway and Webster combined to go 16 of 19.
Leslee Smith had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska and Georgia both expected better results at the tournament.
The Cornhuskers were within a basket late of Massachusetts on Thursday in the tournament opener and then UAB on Friday before falling to both. They were beaten by the Minutemen 96-90 and by the Blazers 87-74.
Nebraska coach Tim Miles says his team struggled when Massachusetts and UAB took the play to the basket, something he hoped to turn around against Georgia.
The Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference came into the eight-team event off a loss to state rival Georgia Tech and had looked to rebound in a big way at TD Arena. Instead, they struggled throughout in a 78-64 loss to giant killer Davidson.
Georgia rallied from a 13-point deficit the next game against Temple and led 81-80 with 18.8 seconds left on Mann's driving basket. But Temple's Will Cummings struck for a 3-pointer moments later in its 83-81 victory.
Bulldogs coach Mark Fox put an emphasis on defense, one his team paid attention to as the players continually chanted "defense" to their teammates on the floor against the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska built a 32-23 lead on Deverell Biggs' jumper with 3:15 to go in the opening half. That's when Georgia closed the half with an 8-2 run, fueled by Brandon Morris' four foul shots and trailed 34-31 at the break.