Paul Weir and the Lobos earned their elusive first road win of the season with an impressive come-from-behind 85-81 win over the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at the Thomas and Mack Center on Wednesday Night.
UNM scored nine points in the final 1:07 of play, including a critical four-point play by Anthony Mathis, to complete the upset and leave Vegas with a victory.
Freshman guard Makuach Maluach led the Lobos in scoring with 19 points on 7-12 shooting, with Mathis adding 14 points, including seven points in the final 1:07 of action. Six Lobos finished with double figures, including freshman forward Vladimir Pinchuk, who posted his first double-digit performance since the opening game of the season against Northern New Mexico.
Although the Lobos entered halftime tied with the Rebels at 35 points apiece, it appeared as though the undersized and undermanned Lobos would not be able to keep up with the 7th-highest scoring team in the nation in the second half.
UNLV looked to be in control after an 18-5 scoring run put them up by 11 with just under seven minutes left to play. The Lobos fought back to narrow the lead to two points when Antino Jackson hit a three-pointer with 2:02 left on the clock. The Rebels would manage to score just five more points in the final two minutes as the Lobos pulled away with the win on the clutch shooting by Mathis.
UNM held UNLV’s top scorer Brandon McCoy to just nine points on 4 of 10 shooting. The seven-foot-one freshman dealt with early foul trouble that limited him to just 19 minutes of play. Second-leading scorer Shakur Juiston scored 14 points of 7 of 10 shooting and guard Jordan Johnson added a team-high 19 points, but it was not enough as the Rebels failed to make key baskets down the stretch.
UNLV outshot UNM 48% to 44% from the floor, while the Lobos owned a sizable advantage in three-point and free throw shooting. The Rebels made just two of 13 shots from behind the arc, while the Lobos, led by Mathis, hit 10 of 26 shots from downtown. The two teams finished with 19 points each from the charity stripe, but the Rebels missed out on an opportunity to win by making just 63% of their attempts compared to 86% by New Mexico.
The Lobos leave Vegas with a 9-11 overall record, and 4-3 mark in Mountain West Conference play, while the Rebels fall to 13-5 and 2-3 in the conference.
UNM continues conference play on Saturday afternoon against San Diego State at DreamStlye Arena.