Open Announce

Lobos Down UC Santa Barbara 84-61 for Seventh Straight Win

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team ran its win streak to seven with an 84-61 victory over Big West preseason favorite UC Santa Barbara. The Lobos (8-1) broke open the game in the second half and snapped the Gauchos’ (4-3) four-game win streak.

Donovan Dent led the Lobos with 23 points and eight assists. JT Toppin added 18 points on 8-9 shooting, including his first two career 3-pointers. Tru Washington added 17 points, all in the second half, off the bench for his fifth straight game in double figures. Isaac Mushila grabbed a game-high nine rebounds for UNM.

The teams traded the lead early on before a 12-0 Lobo run gave them a 16-6 lead with 14:20 left in the half. UCSB cut the margin to three, 20-17, with 10:45 left, before the Lobos took a 30-24 lead with 6:30 to play. The Gauchos closed to within two at 35-33 with 3:40 left in the half before the Lobos pushed the margin back to seven at halftime, leading 42-35. Dent had 15 points and five assists to lead UNM in the first half.

In the second half, the Lobos used an early 6-0 run to push the lead to double figures, 55-43, with 16:30 to play. A 12-0 UNM run pushed the advantage to 67-47 with 9:20 to play and the Lobos had a 21-point lead (70-49) with 8:00 to go. A 7-0 Lobo run gave them a 79-53 lead with 4:30 to play as they closed out the 23-point win.

• New Mexico held its fifth straight opponent under 40% field goal percentage, its longest such streak since a five-game stretch from Nov. 30-Dec. 17, 2014
• Jaelen House had four steals, his 17th career game at UNM with at least four steals
• The Lobos had 13 steals, the most in the Pitino era (most since 13 at Colorado State in 2019-20)
• Jamal Mashburn, Jr. missed his fourth straight game due to injury

“It was just a phenomenal defensive performance in the second half. That lineup of Isaac, Tru, House, Donovan and either JT or Nelly was unbelievable defensively against a really good offensive team. Our depth is allowing us to keep subbing guys in. Even though we are missing one of the best guards in the country, we aren’t missing a beat. It was a great win. I have a lot of respect for what Santa Barbara is doing. They have one of the best guards in the country and we held him to 4-17 shooting. We wanted to have a team effort on him.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos will travel this weekend to Las Vegas for the Jack Jones Classic in Henderson, Nev. New Mexico will play Santa Clara in the first game of the tripleheader at the Dollar Loan Center, where UNM won three games last month in the Ball Dawgs Classic. Game time Saturday is 2 p.m. PT (3 p.m. MT).