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Lobos Down New Mexico Highlands in Return to The Pit

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – The New Mexico men’s basketball team concluded its preseason with a 101-72 exhibition victory over New Mexico Highlands Friday night at The Pit. The Lobos led wire-to-wire to post a win while playing in front of fans in The Pit for the first time 616 days.

Five Lobos scored in double figures, led by Javonte Johnson and KJ Jenkins, who each scored 18 points off the bench. Johnson also added a team-high 11 rebounds to post a double-double. Jay Allen-Tovar made his first seven shots of the night as he posted 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Jaelen House scored 12 points and Jamal Mashburn, Jr. added 11 points.

New Mexico shot 50.6 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Cowboys 52-33. Ten different Lobos scored in the contest.

The Lobos got off to a quick start, jumping out to an 13-0 lead in the first three minutes of the contest, highlighted by seven points by Allen-Tovar. UNM used a 16-0 run late in the first half to push the lead to 28 points before taking a 58-33 lead at halftime. Allen-Tovar led the Lobos with 13 first-half points, while Mashburn added 11 in the first half.

In the second half, the Lobos led by as many as 36 before closing out the 101-72 win.

• New Mexico’s starting lineup (Mashburn, House, Allen-Tovar, Todd, Seck) comprised of five newcomers
• The Lobos improved to 26-0 against non-Division I opponents in preseason exhibitions

“It was a great start and I think we played a fun brand basketball for the fans to see. I told our team, don’t take one fan for granted who spends money to come watch you play. We did some good things for sure. A lot of teams can lay eggs in these games, we did not. We played with spirit, played with enthusiasm and made a lot of really good plays. Overall, it was good. We have some good film to watch and then move on to the real stuff on Wednesday night.”

The Richard Pitino era of New Mexico basketball officially begins Wednesday with the season-opener against FAU. Game time at The Pit is 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast online on the Mountain West Network and on the radio on the Lobo Radio Network. The Owls are the first of two first-time opponents this season for the Lobos.

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