Lobos Edged in Overtime Thriller at Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. — Registering his second 20+ point game in the last three, senior Makuach Maluach went on a first-half run to tie the game for UNM, a tie that would ultimately lead to overtime, but the Lobos fell just short in the final period for a 64-62 loss to Fresno State on the road.
The last time the Lobos (5-10, 1-10 MW) went into overtime was against Fresno State on March 3, 2018 in head coach Paul Weir’s first season, on senior night in The Pit. UNM won that game, 95-86, and is now 2-1 all time against the Bulldogs in overtime.
Both teams scored just 19 points in the first half followed by 34 points apiece in the second before Fresno State (6-6, 4-6 MW) just barely edged UNM, 11-9, in the five-minute overtime period.
Despite the loss, UNM outshot the Bulldogs 41.0 – 35.6 percent from the field and outrebounded 43-41. Fresno State however, hit 10 buckets from behind the arc while the Lobos sunk just one shot from deep.
Maluach led all players on the night and was one of four Lobos to score in double figures. He went 9-for-17 from the floor including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line for 24 points while also collecting five rebounds in a career-high 41 minutes.
Also helping to lead the Lobos was junior Saquan Singleton who posted his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Valdir Manuel and sophomore Jeremiah Francis III scored 10 points apiece. Manuel’s total marked his fourth game in double figures in the last five contests while Francis III has now done so twice on the season.
In a low-scoring first half, the Bulldogs got out to a 10-point advantage through the first 7:43, 12-2. The Lobos responded with a 15-5 run over the next nine minutes to tie it up, 17-17.
The run included an 8-0 run sparked by a Singleton layup followed by three straight Maluach jumpers over 53 seconds, the last of which put the Lobos on top, 17-16.
The teams went into the locker room at the half tied at 19 points apiece shooting a dismal 29.0 (UNM) and 18.5 (FS) percent from the floor.
The Lobos got out to their largest lead of the game, four, at the start of the second half with two straight buckets by Singleton and Maluach, taking a 23-19 lead, but the teams battled throughout the half, neither gaining more than a four-point advantage.
The teams knotted the score seven times in the second half.
With Fresno State up by four and 1:06 left on the clock, the Lobos committed an offensive foul to turn the ball over, forcing Coach Weir to call a timeout. Sophomore Kurt Wegscheider got the steal and Maluach drew a foul, going 2-for-2 at the line to reduce the Bulldog lead to two, 53-51.
Francis III regained possession for UNM with 22 seconds left on a steal and then made the layup to tie up the game and force overtime with 19 seconds left, 53-53.
The game was still tied 58-58 with 2:31 left in the extra period before a Maluach jumper and a Singleton layup within 38 seconds put UNM up by four with 1:05 on the clock, 62-58.
Fresno State junior, Junior Ballard, who racked up 18 points going 4-for-9 from 3-point range, hit a dagger with 58 seconds left to cut the Lobo lead to one before sophomore Deon Stroud went coast-to-coast with the steal and dunk to put Fresno State back up by one, 63-62 with 31 seconds left.
The Lobos fouled and called a timeout but Fresno State’s Isaiah Hill went 1-for-2 from the stripe for the 64-62 final score with eight seconds left on the clock.
The Lobos attempted a final shot to win it, but were unable to get the shot off before the buzzer. Fresno State finished the game on a 6-0 run.
In a strong defensive effort, the UNM defense limited Fresno State leading scorer Orlando Robinson, who entered the game averaging 17.5 points overall and 18.0 points in MW play, to just four points in 35 minutes on the night.
The Lobos and the Bulldogs are set for a rematch after just one day of rest. The teams will face off on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 5 p.m. MT on the Mountain West Network.
- The Lobos still lead the Bulldogs by one in the all-time series, 17-16
- Fresno State has now won four of the last five matchups
- The Lobos are now 2-1 against Fresno State in overtime.
- The last time the Lobos played an overtime game was on March 3, 2018, against Fresno State
- UNM won 95-86
- The last time UNM lost an overtime game was 105-104 against Nevada on Jan. 7, 2017.
- The Lobos debuted their seventh starting lineup of the season: Singleton, Maluach, Wegscheider, Brown and Matos.
- The last time the Lobos held an opponent to 20 points or less in the first half was on Nov. 26, 2019 when UNM topped (RV) Wisconsin in New York at the Barclays Center.
- The game marks the second time this season that UNM has been held to 20 points or less in the first half (first was against Utah State on Jan. 8)
- The Lobos outshot the Bulldogs 41.0-35.6 percent
- Fresno State hit 10 threes compared to just one for UNM
- Both teams shot under 60 percent from the free throw line
- UNM racked up five blocks to none for Fresno State
- The Lobos outscored the Bulldogs in the paint 32-20
- UNM outrebounded Fresno State 43-41
- Four Lobos nearly fouled out (4) playing over 24 minutes apiece including Matos, Singleton, Brown and Maluach.
- Fresno State posted more fouls on the night, 21-20
- Senior Makuach Maluach led all players on the floor with 24 points and now posts 1,172 career points, ranking 23rd in Lobo all-time scoring history.
- On the night, he passed former Lobo greats Roman Martinez (1,159), Charlie Thomas (1,158) and Johnny Brown (1,157).
- Maluach has registered 20+ points in two of the last three Lobo games.
- Maluach started his 71st straight career contest on the night while competing in his 114th career game.
- Junior Saquan Singleton registered his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes.
- Sophomore Kurt Wegscheider started his third straight contest.
- With his 10 points, junior Valdir Manuel has scored in double figures in four of his last five games.
- Sophomore Jeremiah Francis III scored 10 points on the night for his second double-digit scoring game of the season.
- He also hit his sixth 3-pointer of the season.