History was made at Wise Pies Arena, AKA the Pit on Saturday Night, and not the type of history that Lobo fans will want to hear.
Up 11 points with a minute left in regulation, the Lobos allowed the Wolf Pack to storm back and tie the game on a barrage of three-point baskets, led by Jordan Caroline’s career-high 45 points.
It was the largest comeback in the final minute of regulation his the history of Mountain West Conference play, and the second-largest comeback in NCAA history behind Texas A&M’s 12 point comeback against Northern Iowa in the NCAA tournament.
Nevada would eventually win the game 105-104 before a half-empty Pit, as many confident UNM fans left the arena early with the Lobos up 25 points with eight minutes to play.
Those fans were treated to a disappointing ride home, as the Wolf Pack took advantage of a complacent Lobo team, handing New Mexico their first home loss of the season.
“It’s the greatest win that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Nevada head coach Eric Musselman. “The tough thing about basketball is I thought New Mexico played absolutely phenomenal. Through 38 minutes, they played as good as anybody we’ve played all year.”
The Lobos did play well, but as the old adage goes, it is not how you start it is how you finish, and the Caroline and the Wolf Pack finished strong while the Lobos choked under pressure.
“Hard lesson for my guys,” said UNM head coach Craig Neal. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a game like that. You’ve got to give them credit for keep fighting and we just didn’t finish the game.”
The 45 points by Caroline were the most by any opposing player in the history of the Pit, as the sophomore guard from Champaign, ILL, out shined UNM stars Tim Williams and Elijah Brown, who each scored 26 points on the night.
The loss drops UNM to 9-7 on the season and 2-2 in MWC play, two games behind league-leading Boise State (11-4, 4-0).
UNM continues conference play next Tuesday at home against UNLV before taking to the road for a tough stretch of games against CSU and Boise State.