Open Announce

Lobos Drop Conference Opener at No. 13 Colorado State

by Steve Kirkland

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team dropped its Mountain West opener on Tuesday night, falling 76-68 to No. 13 Colorado State at Moby Arena. The Lobos (12-2, 0-1 MW) saw its 11-game winning streak snapped as the Rams (13-1, 1-0 MW) won their fourth straight.

JT Toppin led the Lobos with 17 points and 11 rebounds, becoming the first UNM freshman to ever have a double-double in his Mountain West debut. Jaelen House added 14 points, Jamal Mashburn, Jr. scored 13 points and Donovan Dent had 10 points to go with a game-high nine assists.

The Lobos opened the game strong, taking a 12-5 lead over the opening four minutes. CSU used a 10-0 run to take its first lead at 21-17 with 7:00 to play. New Mexico drew even, 23-23, with 5:10 to go before CSU took a 31-26 led with 1:30 to go. The Rams led 33-30 at the break as Toppin had 11 points and six rebounds to lead UNM in the first half.

In the second half, the Rams pushed the lead to 41-34 with 16:45 to play and used a 10-0 run to take a 53-40 lead with 11:00 to go. UNM chipped away and closed to within eight just past the midway point of the half, but CSU extended the lead to 62-45 with 7:30 to go with a 9-0 run. New Mexico cut the margin to 68-61 with 1:05 to play after a Mashburn 4-point play, two free throws from Dent and a triple from House. UNM would get as close as six in the final minute before CSU closed out the eight-point victory at the foul line.

• Toppin’s 17 points are the most by a UNM freshman in a Mountain West opener and most by a UNM freshman in a conference opener since John Robinson II scored 24 points at Fresno State in the 1998-99 WAC opener
• Toppin posted the first double-double by a Lobo freshman in a Mountain West game since Hugh Greenwood (10 pts, 10 rebs) at Boise State on Feb. 4, 2012
• Dent’s nine assists are a career high for a conference game
• The Lobos had 10 steals, the sixth time in the last seven games with double-digit steals
• New Mexico had all players available for the second time all season (first since the season opener vs. Texas Southern on Nov. 6)

“We didn’t do a great job defensively and rebounding the ball at the beginning of the second half. I thought in the first half we were really good and the second part of the second half we were good. We didn’t set the tone coming out of the locker room. The foul trouble made it tough on us, but Colorado State is a really good team. We will humbly watch the film, see where we can get better and get ready for Saturday night.” – Richard Pitino

New Mexico’s home conference schedule begins on Jan. 6 as it hosts Wyoming. Game time for that contest is 8 p.m. at The Pit and it will air on CBS Sports Network and Lobo Radio Network. Tickets are on sale now at