Open Announce

Lobos Soar Past Rice 90-56 at Ball Dawgs Classic

by Steve Kirkland

HENDERSON, Nev. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team won for the second straight night in the Ball Dawgs Classic, downing Rice 90-56 on Wednesday night at the Dollar Loan Center. The Lobos (4-1) pulled away from the Owls (1-4) in the second half to post their largest margin of victory in a November tournament since a 95-42 victory over Ole Miss in the 2005 Jim Thorpe Classic.

Donovan Dent recorded his first career double-double with 18 points and a career-high 11 assists. He also had no turnovers, marking the second-highest assist total in UNM history in a zero-turnover game. Dent was one of five Lobos in double figures as Tru Washington scored a career-high 14 points, Jamal Mashburn, Jr. and JT Toppin each scored 13 points and Nelly Junior Joseph added 10 points.

The Lobos used an early 9-0 run to take a 9-2 lead over the opening three minutes of play and held a 12-4 advantage at the first media timeout. The lead increased to 21-7 with 12:00 to go in the half before a 7-0 Rice run cut the lead in half with 9:20 to go. After the Lobos pushed the lead back to double digits, a 6-0 Owl run got them to within five at 27-22 with 6:40 to go. UNM answered with a 13-2 run to push the lead to its largest of the half at 40-24 with 3:45 to go. The Lobos took a 46-33 lead into the break, as Toppin scored 11 and Dent had 10 points in the first half.

In the second half, Rice cut the margin to eight at 48-40 with 17:30 to play, but the Lobos held a double-digit lead at 58-45 with 11:30 to go. A 17-3 Lobo run gave them a 71-48 lead with 9:00 to play as they eventually grew the advantage to 30 (82-52) with 3:40 left with a 22-4 run. In the final minutes UNM led by as many as 34 as they closed out the 90-56 win.

• Donovan Dent’s 11 assist-0 turnover-performance was one shy of the school record 12/0 performance by Drue Drinnon against the University of the Southwest in 2018-19 and ties the record for most assists in a zero-turnover game against a Division I opponent (Darrell McGee vs. Hardin-Simmons [Division I at that time] in 1989-90)
• JT Toppin had career highs of four blocks and three steals
• Isaac Mushila scored his first points as a Lobo (five) and added a season-high seven rebounds
• Quinton Webb scored a career-high seven points
• The Lobos have scored at least 90 points in consecutive games against Division I opponents for the first time since 2019-20 (Grand Canyon and Houston Christian)

“It was a terrific defensive performance by our guys. Offensively, we have been able to put up some great numbers, but we haven’t had a terrific defensive performance yet. The second half was great. Rice is a top-100 offensive team and we took them out of their rhythm and made them uncomfortable. We were able to play the bench as well, which helps with three games in four days. We are just trying to get as many wins as possible while we get back to full strength.” – Richard Pitino

New Mexico will conclude play in the Ball Dawgs Classic on Friday with a matchup with Pepperdine. The Waves lost their first two games of the event, falling to UC Irvine 76-60 on Tuesday and Indiana State 90-82 on Wednesday. Game time Friday is approximately 4:45 p.m. MT (3:45 p.m. PT) and will be broadcast on FloHoops and the Lobo Radio Network.