With five games of over 20 points scored on the season on his resume, including 29 against Mizzou back on November 21st, the Lobos and head coach Richard Pitino knew they had their hands full with SMU guard Kendric Davis on Sunday afternoon at the Pit.
Knowing that they need to shut down Davis and completing the task are two different things, especially for a defense like the Lobos, who have struggled at times defensively against elite guards like Davis.
Davis, the No.19 ranked scorer in the country entering Sunday, would end the day higher on the list after posting a season-high 33 points, as the Mustangs beat the Lobos 90-72 in a lopsided victory.
SMU came out of the opening tip red hot, taking an early 19-7 lead with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half. UNM, conversely, was anything but hot, falling behind from the start and entered halftime down 16 points.
UNM would cut the second-half deficit to eight with a 9-1 run, only for the Mustangs to counter with a 9-0 run of their own. The Lobos would mount one final 7-0 run in the closing minutes, but it was too little too late, and SMU came out on top 90-72.
Jamal Mashburn Jr. led the Lobos with 25 points on 9 of 21 shooting, and Jaelen House added 16 of his own.
“SMU is a very good team. I think they are a NCAA Tournament team and they have veterans, 1,000-point scorers, seniors, they are old. We still cannot find a way to get a stop when we need to,” said UNM Head Coach Richard Pitino.
“We cut it to eight or nine in the second half a couple of time and couldn’t get a stop. I love the fight in the second half, but give SMU credit. They are where we want to be in a couple of years.”
With the loss, the Lobos fall to 6-6 on the season, while the Mustangs improved their record to 9-3.
UNM will look to get back in the win column with a home matchup on Tuesday against Norfolk State before kicking off Mountain West Conference play on 12/28 against Colorado State.