Open Announce

Lobos Open Preseason with 83-65 Win Over CSU Pueblo

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – The New Mexico men’s basketball team made its 2023-24 season debut on Thursday night with an 83-65 exhibition victory over CSU Pueblo at The Pit. The Lobos used a strong second half performance to pull away from the ThunderWolves and post the 18-point victory.

Donovan Dent led New Mexico with 26 points, the most by a Lobo in an exhibition since Cullen Neal scored 33 against CSU Pueblo in 2015-16, to go along with six assists. Jamal Mashburn, Jr, scored 18 points, while freshmen JT Toppin and Tru Washington scored 16 and 11 points respectively in their debuts.

CSU Pueblo opened the game by taking an early 7-3 lead over the first two minutes before the Lobos went on a 7-0 run to open up a 10-7 advantage. New Mexico led 21-16 at the midway point of the half, but the ThunderWolves used a 12-0 run to retake the lead, 28-21 with 5:45 left in the half. The Lobos answered with an 11-0 run to lead 32-28 with 4:00 to go. UNM took its largest lead of the half into the break, leading 38-32 at halftime. Dent had 13 points and Toppin had 12 points in the first half to lead New Mexico.

The Lobos opened the second half with the first four points to open up their first double-digit lead of the game. The lead grew to 15 at 56-41 with 12:30 to play before an 8-0 CSU Pueblo run cut the advantage to 56-49 with 11:12 to play. UNM used a 7-0 run to push the lead to 15 at 67-52 with 8:20 to play and the Lobos would lead by as many as 19 down the stretch.

• Seven players (Jemarl Baker, Jr., Mustapha Amzil, Nelly Junior Joseph, Tru Washington, JT Toppin, Shane Douma-Sanchez, Deraje Agbaosi) made their first UNM appearance
• The Lobos improved to 28-0 against non-Division I opponents in preseason exhibitions
• Dent’s 26 points were more than any game his freshman season (high of 14 vs. Prairie View)
• New Mexico had 13 blocks, led by four from Toppin

“That was really good for us. We haven’t had a lot of time together, obviously with Nelly getting off a plane two days ago and having one practice. I wanted to throw him in there. I felt like Nelly is a key piece to what we are doing and he needs to play with these guys. CSU Pueblo was really good in the first half. We didn’t have enough energy on the basketball in the first half. Donovan, although terrific offensively, he really stepped up defensively in the second half. That was really beneficial to us. It was great to be back in this building playing in front of our awesome fans. We can now watch this tape and clean up a lot.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos conclude the preseason on Nov. 1 by hosting New Mexico Highlands in their second exhibition. Game time at The Pit is 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Lobo Radio Network.