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Lobos Suffer 84-73 Loss at Utah State

by Steve Kirkland

LOGAN, Utah – The New Mexico men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a first half deficit and fell 84-73 on Wednesday night at the Smith Spectrum. The Lobos (19-4, 6-4 MW) trimmed a 20-point deficit to eight midway through the second half, but couldn’t complete the comeback against the Aggies (18-5, 7-3 MW).

All five New Mexico starters scored in double figures, led by Jamal Mashburn, Jr.’s 17 points. Morris Udeze had 16 points and 12 rebounds for his league-leading ninth double-double of the season. Jaelen House scored 14 points, Josiah Allick had 10 points and Javonte Johnson tied a season high with 10 points.

The Aggies used an early 9-0 run to take a 9-2 lead after just three minutes of play. Utah State used a 10-0 run to push the lead to double digits at 25-9 with 11:00 left in the half. The Lobos answered with a 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 27-23 with 5:50 left. The runs continued with the Aggies going on a 19-4 run to close out the half and take a 46-27 lead into the break, the largest halftime deficit of the season for the Lobos.

In the second half, the Aggies pushed the lead to 20 early on, UNM’s largest deficit of the season, before the Lobos closed the deficit to 51-36 with 16:30 to play. After Utah State pushed the lead back to 20, a 12-2 Lobo run cut the deficit in half at 58-48 with 12:00 to go. The Aggies led 60-52 at the midway point of the half, but that was as close as the Lobos would get in the second half. Both teams went cold for several minutes as USU led 62-52 with 7:40 to play. The Aggies extended the lead to 15 with 4:30 to go before closing out the 11-point win at the free throw line in the final minutes.

New Mexico suffered its first double-digit loss of the season
• All five UNM starters scored in double figures for the first time in the Pitino era
• The Lobos had five double-figure scorers for the first time in Mountain West play this season
• Mashburn scored in double figures for the 44th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the Mountain West and second-longest active streak in the nation

“We were just not ourselves offensively in the first half. We had some uncharacteristic turnovers. We didn’t turn it over in the second half and we were able to go on a run. They made 16 more free throws than we did and that is a hard number to overcome. We showed some fight to cut into their lead, but our start was poor. In the 23 games we have played, this was the first time where we had a half where we weren’t ourselves. The bottom line is we have to learn from it and grow. We have a little time to practice and prepare for Nevada and we have to be a better team by next Tuesday.” – Richard Pitino

New Mexico will return home on Feb. 7 when it hosts Nevada. Game time at The Pit is 8:30 p.m. and the game will air on FS1. Over 12,000 tickets are out for that game, so fans are encouraged to buy early at