Open Announce

Lobos Down No. 16 Utah State 99-86 for Second Straight Ranked Win

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team recorded its second-straight ranked victory with a 99-86 win over No. 16 Utah State on Tuesday night at The Pit. The Lobos (15-3, 3-2 MW) remained unbeaten at home this season while snapping the Aggies’ (16-2, 4-1 MW) 15-game win streak, which was the nation’s longest win streak at the start of the day.

Nelly Junior Joseph scored a season-high 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting, while adding eight rebounds and five blocks. Donovan Dent had 15 points and a career-high 14 assists for his third double-double of the season. Jaelen House had 14 points, JT Toppin and Mustapha Amzil each scored 12 points and Jamal Mashburn, Jr. scored 10 points as UNM had six double figure scorers for the first time since 2019.

The Lobos had 12 steals and 10 blocks, marking the first time since 2011-12 (vs. North Dakota) that UNM had double-figure blocks and steals in the same game.

The Lobos jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minute of play before Utah State answered with a 6-0 run to take their first lead. The teams traded the lead fore several minutes before the Lobos took a 20-12 lead with 13:00 left in the half. New Mexico held a 29-21 led at the midway point of the half and extended the lead to 37-24 with 7:50 to play in the half. UNM led 40-25 with 6:30 left after a Mashburn triple, as the Lobos took their largest lead of the half, 16, into the break at 55-39. Joseph had set a season high by the half with 16 points to lead UNM.

In the second half, the Lobos pushed the lead to 20 at 62-42 over the first two-and-a-half minutes of play. A 7-0 Aggie run cut the margin to 13 with 15:20 to go before the Lobos pushed the advantage back to 18. An 8-0 USU run cut the margin back to single digits at 71-62 with 12:55 left to play before the Lobos led 77-67 at the midway point. The Aggies would close to within seven with 9:10 to go before the Lobos pushed the advantage back to double digits at 85-72 with 7:00 to go. Back-to-back triples by House and Amzil gave UNM a 95-78 lead with 3:45 to play as they closed out the 13-point win in the final minutes.

• Dent’s 14 assists are the most in a game by a Lobo since 1989 (Darrell McGee with 16 vs. BYU on Jan. 5, 1989)
• New Mexico defeated ranked opponents in consecutive games for the first time since 2011-12 (at No. 13 San Diego State, vs. No. 11 UNLV)
• UNM’s 55 first-half points tied for the most at halftime of the Pitino era (also 55 in the first half vs. New Mexico State this season)
• Joseph became the sixth Lobo this season to post a 20-point game and the fifth Lobo to post a 25-point game
• Joseph became the first Lobo since Obij Aget in 2017 (vs. Boise State, at Fresno State) to have consecutive five-block games
• Joseph’s 11-12 FG performance tied for the third-best percentage in school history with at least 10 FGs (matching JT Toppin’s 11-12 FGs vs. Toledo earlier this season)
• The Lobos had double-digit steals (12) for the eighth time this season
• New Mexico’s 99 points tied for third-most in school history against a ranked opponent

“It was a great win for our program. To have back-to-back wins against ranked teams is special. They had won 15 in a row and it was a Quad 1 win. They were playing great basketball and Coach Sprinkle has done a great job of bringing in some really good players. Offensively, we were really good. Thanks to the over 13,000 who came out on a Tuesday night at 8:45 p.m. This is a tough place to play when we are clicking like that. I am proud of Nelly, proud of Donovan, Mustapha played great as he continues to break out. It was a great win against a very, very good team.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos will begin a two-game road trip on Saturday with a visit to Air Force. Game time in Colorado Springs is 2 p.m. and the game will air on CBS Sports Network.