A home game against a small school like Central Arkansas with a 4-6 record is precisely what the University of New Mexico Lobos needed to snap their three-game losing streak. The Lobos did not falter with their golden opportunity to get back on track with an 82-70 victory over the Bears at DreamStyle Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Forward Makuach Maluach scored a game-high 22 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the floor and four of six from behind the arc. Four Lobos finished in double figures, including fellow forward Carlton Bragg with 16 points in his first action of the season.
The two teams played a close first half before guard Anthony Mathis hit a three-point basket with just over three minutes left in the half to give UNM a four-point lead. Bragg mad the final basket of the game with a layup with 13 left in the period to give New Mexico an eight-point advantage at the break.
UNM would go on to hold the lead for the entire second half with Maluach and Bragg leading the way.
Guard Khaleem Bennett led the Bears in scoring with 14 points on 7-9 shooting. He joined three other Bears in double figures, including Jared Chatham and Eddy Kayouloud with 10 points apiece off the bench.
The Lobos outshot the Bears 46% to 39%. They made nearly twice as many three-point baskets (11 to 6) while finishing with a plus-11 advantage in rebounding.
The 22 points by Maluach was the first time this season the sophomore from Sydney, New South Wales Australia scored over 20 points and only the fourth time in nine games that he reached double figures.
“I think that it was (Makuach’s) best breakout game of the year, and not just because he made some threes,” head coach Paul Weir said after the game. “It was the best offensive rebounding game, and he had some energy to him. That was really encouraging to see him come forward.”
Maluach and the Lobos return to court on Tuesday with a home matchup against North Texas at DreamStyle Arena. The Mean Green own an impressive 10-1 record on the season, with wins over Hawaii and UTA.