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Lobos Suffer 85-56 Loss at UNLV

by Steve Kirkland

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team fell at UNLV 85-56 on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Runnin Rebels (9-6, 1-1) used runs early and late to hand the Lobos (7-9, 0-3) their third straight defeat.

KJ Jenkins scored 26 points, matching his career high from junior college, to lead the Lobos. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. added 11 points for New Mexico.

Head Coach Richard Pitino missed the second straight game due to COVID protocols, with assistant coach Eric Brown serving as acting head coach for the game.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Runnin’ Rebels opened up the game strong, taking a 12-0 lead over the first 5:10 of the game. The Lobos answered with a 10-2 run of their own to close the gap to 14-10 with 11:30 to play in the half, with Jenkins scoring all 10 points. Jenkins scored 15 of the of the Lobos’ first 17 points as they trailed 21-17 with 8:30 in the half. After UNLV pushed the lead back to 10 at 29-19 with 5:19 in the half, a 6-0 Lobo run cut the margin to four. The Rebels pushed the lead back to 10 at the break, leading 40-30. Jenkins finished with 15 first-half points to lead the Lobos.

In the second half, UNLV extended its advantage to 18 with a 9-0 run to make the score 54-36 with 15:20 to play. Jenkins scored six straight points to cut the lead to 12 before the Rebels pushed the lead to 20 at the midway point of the half. The Lobos would get within 13 with just under 8:00 to go, but that was as close as they would get as UNLV used a late 17-0 run to close out the 85-56 victory.

LOBO NOTES

• The Lobos’ 56 points were a season low
• Jenkins scored in double figures for the seventh time this season and had his second 20-point game
• Mashburn scored in double figures for the 15th time in 16 games this season
• Birima Seck appeared in his first game since Dec. 9 vs. Denver
• Jordan Arroyo appeared in his first game since Nov. 22 vs. Western New Mexico

QUOTABLE
“We basically didn’t do what we needed to do in the second half. They are a team that thrives in transition, thrives in driving the basketball and gets on the offensive boards, and they checked the boxes in all those categories. We talked about not turning the ball over, but that led to a lot of their points. We were down 10 at the half and talked about starting strong, those first four minutes, but we just couldn’t get a stop and a rebound to be able to get back into the game.” – Acting Head Coach Eric Brown

UP NEXT
The Lobos return home to host Boise State on Saturday afternoon, a game rescheduled from February 8. The San Diego State game, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed due to COVID concerns within the Aztecs’ program. The Boise State game will tipoff at 3:30 p.m. MT at The Pit and will be broadcast on FS1 and the Lobo Radio Network. For ticket information about the rescheduling, click here.