Losers of three-straight games, including home losses against Nevada and UNLV, the University of New Mexico Lobos looked to break their losing streak on the road against a Boise State team that they beat back in December to kick off Mountain West Conference play.
The roster the Lobos brought out against the Broncos on Sunday was a far cry from the one they had back in December when hopes were riding high, and UNM looked poised to be a contender for the MWC regular-season crown.
Like the names on the stat sheet, the results of Sunday’s game were far different than the first meeting.
Carlton Bragg Jr. and JJ Caldwell combined to score 25 points, pull down 12 rebounds, and post seven combined assists back on December 4th at the Pit.
With both players no longer on the roster, Vance Jackson led Paul Weir’s squad with 19 points on 5 of 9 shooting, while Keith McGee was the only other Lobo in double figures.
Although losing by double-figures and managing only to score 61 points on the day, the Lobos did outshoot the Broncos 46.8% to 44.3% from the floor, and UNM did best Boise State by just a hair behind the arc (30% compared to 29%).
However, the plus-8 advantage Boise State enjoyed in the rebound department proved to be a decisive factor.
The Broncos also took advantage of 18 UNM turnovers to score 29 points, while UNM covered just 16 points on 16 turnovers. Boise State burned the Lobos when they made mistakes, but Weir’s team did not have the same luck returning the favor.
The two teams battled back and forth over the first nine minutes of the game before RayJ Dennis nailed a three-point jumper with 11:47 to give Boise State a seven-point advantage.
Undeterred, UNM would chip away at the lead and eventually take a one-point lead on a layup by Makuach Maluach just before the seven-minute mark.
It would end up being the last lead of the night for the Lobos.
With seven and a half to play in the second period, Jack hit a three-pointer to move the Lobos within just six points, yet Boise State responded with an 8-2 run to put the game away for good.
The loss dropped UNM to 6-10 in conference and 17-12 overall. The Lobos head to Colorado Springs to take on the Air Force Academy on Wednesday be