Men's Basketball Swept at Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. — Following a tough, overtime loss against Fresno State on Thursday, The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team dropped the series finale with the Bulldogs on Saturday by a score of 65-55. The Lobos kept it close into the final minutes in the game that had five lead changes.
UNM falls to 5-11 (1-11 MW) while Fresno State improves to 7-6, 5-6 in conference play.
The Lobos were led by three players scoring in double figures including senior Makuach Maluach (11 points) and sophomores Jeremiah Francis III and Kurt Wegscheider who collected 10 points apiece. Saturday marks the second straight double-figure scoring game for Francis and Wegscheider’s first of his career.
The Lobos got out to an early six-point lead that included a Francis three, but Fresno State responded with a pair of early threes from sophomore Deon Stroud and junior Junior Ballard with in the first five minutes to erase the Lobo advantage and tie the game.
Fresno State eventually hit seven from behind the arc on the night, four of which came from Ballard.
New Mexico’s Francis went 2-for-4 in the first half from 3-point range to lead UNM with six points, along with Maluach and junior Rod Brown who also registered six points apiece. Fresno State’s Ballard went 3-for-5 from deep through the first 20 minutes to lead all players on the floor with nine points.
Through the first half, Maluach posted six points, four rebounds and three assists.
For the second straight game, the teams were tied at the half, this time with 28 points.
The Lobos scored four straight to open the second half on junior Valdir Manuel’s first points of the game before Fresno State went on a 6-0 run over 1:10, forcing UNM head coach Paul Weir to call a timeout to regroup.
Fresno State extended the run to eight on a pair of free throws out of the timeout to take a four-point lead, 36-32.
UNM scored four straight on a jumper by Francis and a layup from Wegscheider to tie it up for the final time 36-36.
The Bulldogs quickly responded with a five-point lead and they never trailed again.
Another Wegscheider three with 2:36 to go made it a one-possession game, 57-54, but the Bulldogs visited the foul line and went 8-for-8 over the last two minutes for the 10-point final.
Fresno State outshot UNM 46.5 – 35.4 percent while the Lobos outrebounded the Bulldogs 40-30 including 19-5 in offensive boards. Fresno State also made 18 free throws to just four for the Lobos.
New Mexico is set to return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 3 against San Diego State in Lubbock, Texas. The game will be televised on FS1 at 9 p.m. MT.
- The Lobos and the Bulldogs are now tied in the all-time series, 17-17.
- Fresno State has now won five of the last six matchups
- The game marks Fresno State’s fifth straight home win of the season.
- The Lobo lineup consisted of Brown, Maluach, Singleton, Francis III and Manuel
- It was the second time this season the group started together.
- Defensively, the Lobos held Fresno State leading scorer Orlando Robinson below 10 points in both games in the series
- It marks the first time all season that Robinson has been limited to less than 10 points in a game
- UNM outrebounded the Bulldogs 40-30
- That includes a 19-5 offensive rebounding differential
- Both teams posted 16 turnovers
- The teams tied in their first three halves of the series (19 points – 1st half game 1, 34 points, 2nd half game one, 28 points 1st half game 2)
- Fresno State scored 18 free throws to just four for UNM despite both shooting under 30 percent on the night from the stripe
- Senior Makuach Maluach led the Lobos with 11 points and now posts 1,183 career points, ranking 23rd in Lobo all-time scoring history.
- Maluach is 17 points away from passing former Lobo great Mark Walters (1,200)
- Maluach started his 72nd straight career contest on the night while competing in his 115th career game.
- Sophomore Jeremiah Francis III racked up his third double-digit scoring night of the season, his second in the last two games.
- Sophomore Kurt Wegscheider posted a career-high 10 points that included a career-most two 3-pointers
- Wegscheider’s first triple of the season came just two games ago against SJSU
- Wegscheider posted just one 3-pointer all season as a freshman and had scored just one this season until Saturday
- Junior Rod Brown scored six points to go along with five rebounds before departing the game early to injury.