Open Announce

New Mexico Posts 68-54 Victory Over Norfolk State

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team captured its seventh win of the season, eclipsing last year’s total, with a 68-54 victory over Norfolk State on Tuesday night at The Pit. The Lobos (7-6) led by as many as 19 points in the first half before the Spartans (9-4) got within two in the second half. New Mexico ended the game on a 14-2 run to post the 14-point win over the reigning MEAC Champions.

Jaelen House scored 16 points to lead New Mexico, while also dishing out six assists. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. scored 13 points and Emmanuel Kuac set career highs of 11 points and nine rebounds. Jay Allen-Tovar led the team with 10 rebounds.

The Lobos used a hot start to take an early 11-5 lead as all five starters scored before the first media timeout. New Mexico used an 16-2 run to push the lead to 27-11 with seven minutes to play in the half. The Lobos would lead by as many as 19 in the first half before taking a 37-21 lead into the break. The Spartans’ 21 points and 22.6 percent field goal shooting were season lows in a half by a Lobo opponent. Kuac led New Mexico with eight first half points as all 10 Lobos that saw action before halftime scored.

In the second half, the Spartans opened on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 10 at 37-27 and would get within nine at 42-33 with just over 15:00 to play. The Lobos led 47-37 at the midway point of the half before Norfolk State closed the gap to two at 54-52 with 4:20 to play. The Lobos ended the game on a 14-2 run to close out the 68-54 victory.

• Emmanuel Kuac had season highs of eight points, four rebounds and three blocks by 8:00 to play in the first half
• Kuac finished with career highs of 11 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two assists
• Jamal Mashburn, Jr. scored in double figures for the 12th time in 13 games this season
• Jaelen House scored in double figures for the eighth time this season
• The Lobos won a game when scoring under 80 points for the first time this season
• Norfolk State’s 54 points were the fewest by a UNM opponent this season

“That was the win we have been looking for, the win when the offense isn’t clicking. There are games that will look like that and we have not had that in the first 12 games of the season. That’s what we need to look like in year one – playing hard, playing together. I think the fans appreciated it and we appreciate them. It was a team win. We went to the bench and the bench was great. Norfolk State is a good team, an NCAA Tournament team with a lot of veterans. Happy for the win and happy to get a little bit of a break now.” – Head Coach Richard Pitino

The Lobos are scheduled to open Mountain West play on Dec. 28 when they host No. 21 Colorado State.