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UNM Opens Lobo Classic with 79-61 Win Over Jacksonville State

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico men’s basketball team began play in Lobo Classic on Friday night with a 79-61 victory over Jacksonville State. The Lobos (4-0) remained unbeaten on the season while leading wire-to-wire against the Gamecocks (2-3).

Three Lobos scored in double figures, led by Morris Udeze, who matched a career high with 22 points. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. added 12 points and KJ Jenkins had a season-high 10 points off the bench. Javonte Johnson had a game-high nine rebounds to go with nine points, while Donovan Dent had seven assists to go with his career-high nine points.

The Lobos were strong defensively to start, holding the Gamecocks scoreless for the first six and a half minutes while taking a 14-0 lead. UNM led 18-7 at the midway point of the half before an 11-2 run pushed the lead to 36-19 with 2:45 to go. The Lobos pushed the lead to 21 points at the half, 42-21, their largest halftime lead over a Division I opponent in five seasons. Udeze had 16 first-half points to lead New Mexico.

In the second half, New Mexico pushed the lead to as many as 23 early before the Gamecocks took advantage of a Lobo cold spell to close the deficit to 14 at 47-33 with 13:15 to play. UNM led 55-37 at the midway point of the half before pushing the lead back to 23 with 5:00 left en route to closing out the 18-point win.

• UNM improved to 4-0 with four victories over Division I opponents since 2012-13
• Mashburn scored in double figures for the 25th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the Mountain West
• Dent now has 18 assists to just two turnovers for the season
• The Lobos won their 10th straight game against a first-time opponent (tomorrow’s game against North Dakota State is also a first time opponent)

“I was concerned coming into this game with just coming off having a sold out rivalry game and that gets taken away and you end up with a 10-day break. You can be rusty when you haven’t played in a while, but I thought our defensive intensity was excellent. We responded much better offensively in the second half. It was good to get a win. It was good to get some guys some rest. Morris was terrific and it was good to get Donovan some minutes in the second half.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobo Classic continues Saturday with another doubleheader at The Pit. New Mexico plays North Dakota State in the first game at 5 p.m., followed by Jacksonville State and Northern Colorado at 7:30 p.m.