UNM’s hopes for a Mountain West Conference regular season title likely vanished on Saturday with a 71-61 road loss against the Fresno State Bulldogs, as the Lobos now find themselves 1.5 games behind a trio of teams atop the conference standings with only three games to play.
In a somewhat sloppy game in which both teams combined for 34 turnovers, Fresno State capitalized for 20 points on 19 UNM giveaways in what turned out to be a decisive factor for victory for the Bulldogs.
In addition to a sizable advantage in points off turnovers, the Bulldogs shot nearly twice as many free throws as the Lobos, while posting a plus-five rebound advantage in the paint.
The Lobos did outshoot the Bulldogs from the floor (45% to 42%), but it was not nearly enough to overcome the other shortfalls in the game, especially a plus-nine free throw advantage for the Bulldogs.
“We didn’t move the ball as well as we have been moving it,” said head coach Craig Neal. “We had opportunities in both the first and second half, but we didn’t let our offense work.”
It was a reversal of fortune for the Lobos, who were the benefactors of a massive free throw advantage when UNM defeated Fresno State to kick off MWC play at Wise Pies Arena, AKA the Pit back in December.
Sam Logwood led UNM is scoring with 14 points on 6-15 shooting from the floor, while Elijah Brown added 11 points and six rebounds.
Four Bulldogs finished with double digits in the game, led by guard Deshon Taylor and Paul Watson who each posted 15 points.
The Lobos continue conference play at home against the Colorado State Rams on Tuesday, before heading out to Wyoming for their final road game of the season a week from today.