Late Rally Comes Up Short for Lobos in Mountain West Opener
RENO, Nev. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team dropped its Mountain West opener on Saturday night, falling 79-70 at Nevada. The Wolf Pack (7-5, 1-0) used a 17-2 second half run to open up a 19-point lead before the Lobos (7-7, 0-1) rallied to within five in the final minute.
Jaelen House scored 18 points and had six assists to lead the Lobos. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. had 13 of his 17 points in the second half, while Saquan Singleton scored a season-high 14 points, matching his Mountain West career high.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both teams opened the game with cold shooting, as the game was tied 7-7 at the first media timeout. A 8-0 Lobo run gave them a 13-7 lead with 14:00 to go in the half. New Mexico extended the lead to 22-13 at the midway point of the half with an 8-0 run. The Wolf Pack answered with a 12-2 run to retake the lead, 25-24, with 5:25 in the half. UNM retook the lead late in the half and took a 36-35 advantage into the break. House had 12 points to lead the Lobos in the first half, while Singleton had 11 points.
In the second half, the teams traded the lead early before Nevada used a 9-2 run to take a 46-41 lead with 13:30 to play. The Wolf Pack used a 17-2 run to extend the lead to 69-50 with 5:30 to play. The Lobos would fight back and use a 15-2 run to get within six at 71-65 with 1:40 to play. New Mexico closed the gap to 75-70 with 36.5 to play but couldn’t get any closer as the Wolf Pack sealed the 79-70 victory at the free throw line.
• The Lobos dropped their Mountain West opener for the second straight year (following a streak of nine straight years of winning their conference opener)
• Saquan Singleton made his first start of the season
• Mashburn scored in double figures for the 13th time this season
• House scored in double figures for the ninth time this season
• Singleton scored in double figures for the second time this season
• Emmanuel Kuac tied a career high with nine rebounds (second straight game)
“In the first half, we looked really good. We were totally under control. It’s a 40-minute game and in the second half, we broke down trust. We have to give these guys more answers from an offensive flow standpoint. Since we don’t have a true post presence, we have to have great ball movement, which we do not have right now. In the first half, we ran the same offense and did a lot of good things. We just broke down trust in a big way in the second half. We have to have a great week of practice and get some trust back with each other.” – Head Coach Richard Pitino
The Lobos will host Utah State in their Mountain West home opener next Saturday, Jan. 8. Game time is 6 p.m. and the game will air on CBS Sports Network.