Lobo Round-up: Men’s basketball falls short in Fort Collins

Lobo Round-up: Men’s basketball falls short in Fort Collins

The New Mexico men’s basketball team wrapped up non-conference play on a high note, securing their 11th consecutive victory by defeating Eastern New Mexico 87-54 at The Pit on Friday night. The Lobos (12-1) showcased their dominance, taking control in the first half and sealing a flawless month of December for the second consecutive year.

Jaelen House led the charge with a game-high 22 points, supported by a balanced offensive effort with four other players scoring in double figures. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. returned to action with an impactful 17 points, while Nelly Junior Joseph recorded a double-double with 13 points and a season-high 16 rebounds. Braden Appelhans made a significant contribution off the bench with a career-high 14 points, and Mustapha Amzil matched his season high with 11 points.

Game Highlights: How it Unfolded

The Lobos faced an early offensive challenge, missing their first seven field goals as Eastern New Mexico held a 4-1 lead. Despite the initial struggle, a pivotal 20-0 run late in the first half propelled UNM to a commanding 43-23 lead at halftime. Jaelen House and Nelly Junior Joseph played instrumental roles in the first half, with House contributing 15 points, and Joseph securing a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

In the second half, UNM continued to extend their lead, reaching a 29-point advantage at 59-30 with 14 minutes remaining. The Lobos maintained control, securing a 33-point victory as they closed out the game.

Notable Achievements and Quotes:

  • New Mexico completed non-conference play with a remarkable 12-1 record, maintaining a 25-1 record in regular season non-conference games over the past two seasons, the second-best nationally.
  • The Lobos secured their 19th straight regular-season home non-conference victory.
  • Nelly Junior Joseph’s first-half double-double included 15 rebounds, marking the most by a Lobo in the Mountain West era.
  • Jamal Mashburn, Jr. returned to the lineup after missing the last seven games due to injury.
  • Coach Richard Pitino expressed gratitude for the strong fan support, emphasizing the team’s readiness for upcoming challenges in Mountain West play.

Lobos Suffer Setback in Conference Opener against No. 13 Colorado State

The New Mexico men’s basketball team faced a tough start to their Mountain West campaign on Tuesday night, falling 76-68 to No. 13 Colorado State at Moby Arena. The Lobos (12-2, 0-1 MW) experienced the end of their impressive 11-game winning streak, while the Rams (13-1, 1-0 MW) secured their fourth consecutive victory.

Noteworthy Performances:

JT Toppin stood out for the Lobos, recording 17 points and 11 rebounds in a historic debut in the Mountain West. Toppin’s double-double marked a milestone as the first UNM freshman to achieve this in a Mountain West opener. Jaelen House contributed 14 points, Jamal Mashburn, Jr. added 13 points, and Donovan Dent showcased his playmaking skills with 10 points and a game-high nine assists.

Game Recap: How it Unfolded

The Lobos displayed a strong start, securing a 12-5 lead in the opening four minutes. However, Colorado State responded with a 10-0 run to take their first lead at 21-17 with 7:00 left in the first half. Despite New Mexico drawing even at 23-23, the Rams closed the half with a 33-30 lead. Toppin’s impressive first-half performance with 11 points and six rebounds kept the Lobos in the game.

In the second half, Colorado State extended their lead to 41-34 with 16:45 to play and later utilized a 10-0 run to establish a 53-40 lead. Despite UNM’s efforts to close the gap, the Rams maintained control, ultimately securing a 76-68 victory. The Lobos managed to trim the deficit to six points in the final minute, but Colorado State closed out the game at the foul line.

Post-Game Notes and Quotes:

  • JT Toppin’s 17 points set a record for the most by a UNM freshman in a Mountain West opener since 1998-99.
  • Toppin achieved the first double-double by a Lobo freshman in a Mountain West game since 2012.
  • Donovan Dent’s nine assists marked a career-high for a conference game.
  • Despite the setback, the Lobos showcased defensive prowess with 10 steals, marking the sixth time in the last seven games with double-digit steals.

Looking Forward:

The Lobos aim to bounce back as they commence their home conference schedule on January 6, hosting Wyoming at The Pit. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m