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Lobos Down Santa Clara 93-76 in Jack Jones Classic

by Steve Kirkland

HENDERSON, Nev. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team won its eighth straight game with an 93-76 win over Santa Clara in the Jack Jones Classic on Saturday afternoon at the Dollar Loan Center. The Lobos (9-1) won their fourth game in the arena this season, while the Broncos fell to 7-3 on the season.

Five Lobos scored in double figures, led by Donovan Dent, who had 22 points to go with six rebounds and four assists. Jemarl Baker, Jr. scored 17 points on 4-6 shooting from deep, while JT Toppin, Tru Washington and Isaac Mushila each scored 11 points.

The Lobos took a 9-4 lead over the opening four-and-a-half minutes of the game by using an early 6-0 run. Another 6-0 run gave UNM a 16-8 lead with 12:00 as they held a 23-11 lead at the midway point of the half. The lead grew to 15 at 29-14 with 7:00 to go and held a 35-20 lead at the under-4:00 timeout. The Lobos used a late 6-0 run to lead by 20 (43-32) with 1:30 left before taking a 47-27 lead into the break, as the Broncos didn’t score a field goal over the last 9:15 of the half. House and Baker each scored nine in the first half to lead New Mexico.

In the second half, New Mexico increased the lead to 22, 53-31, over the opening three minutes and held a 63-44 lead with 12:00 to go. The Broncos would close the deficit to 12, 65-53, with 9:30 to play before UNM pushed the lead back to 18 with 6:00 left. The Lobos used a late 12-2 run to push the lead to 93-70 with 1:30 to go as they closed out the

• The Lobos improved to 4-0 in Henderson (also defeated Toledo, Rice and Pepperdine at the Dollar Loan Center)
• The Lobos’ 18 steals were T-4th most ever against a Division I opponent, and most against a D-I foe since 2005 (19 at Colorado State)
• Santa Clara’s 26 turnovers were most by a UNM opponent since 2017-18 (26 by Omaha)
• Mushila became the ninth different Lobo to score in double figures this season
• Washington scored in double figures for the sixth straight game
• Jamal Mashburn, Jr. missed his fifth straight game due to injury

“Defensively, it was terrific. To have 18 steals and force 26 turnovers, we are playing with amazing effort. The first half, we held them a long time without a basket and that is the second game in a row we have done that. I am proud of our guys. We are doing a lot of good things, especially today against a team we really respect. We wanted to speed them up and make them uncomfortable, and we did that.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos will return to action on Dec. 15 with a visit to Las Cruces for the second meeting of the year of the Rio Grande Rivalry. New Mexico downed New Mexico State 106-62 in the first meeting on Dec. 2 at The Pit. The rematch at the Pan American Center will tip-off at 7 p.m. and air on CBS Sports Network.