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Dent’s Game-Winner Lifts Lobos to 68-66 Win over No. 22 Colorado State

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Donovan Dent’s layup-and-one with 3.2 seconds left lifted New Mexico to a 68-66 victory over No. 22 Colorado State on Wednesday night at The Pit. The Lobos (21-6, 9-5 MW) and Rams (20-7, 8-6 MW) traded the lead six times in the final minute before UNM captured its third win of the season over a ranked opponent.

Dent led New Mexico with 16 points, capped by his third coast-to-coast game-winning layup of the season. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. also scored 16 points, while Jaelen House added 14 points. Nelly Junior Joseph had 13 points and 12 points for his sixth double-double of the season.

After the Rams scored on the opening possession, the Lobos ran off 13 straight points to take a 13-2 lead after five minutes. After UNM led by as many as 12, the Rams used a 7-0 run to cut the margin to 15-10 with 13:20 left before using a 11-0 run to take a 21-18 lead with 9:30 left. CSU led by five before UNM tied the game, 28-28, with 3:30 left. The teams traded late baskets for a 30-30 tie at the break. Mashburn had nine points and Joseph had eight points and rebounds to lead UNM in the first half.

In the second half, the Lobos opened up a 37-32 lead over the opening two-and-a-half minutes. UNM pushed the advantage to 43-34 with 13:15 left with a 6-0 run and led 45-39 at the midway point of the half. A three by House put the Lobos up double digits, 53-43, with 7:10 to go, as they led 54-47 with 5:40 to play. The Rams cut the margin to two, 55-53, with 3:00 to play before UNM held a 59-55 edge with 2:00 to play. CSU tied the game, 59-59, with 1:10 to play before a Mashburn layup with 55 seconds to go gave UNM a two-point lead. A three by the Rams put them up 62-61 with 43 seconds left, but Mashburn was fouled with 31.3 left and made both free throws to give UNM a one-point lead. After CSU scored with 19 seconds left, House answered with 10 seconds left to retake the lead. CSU was fouled with 7.3 to play and made both to give them a 66-65 lead. On the final possession, Dent went coast-to-coast for a layup-and-one with 3.2 to go. He made the free throw to give UNM a 68-66 lead before the Lobos got a stop on the final Ram possession to seal the win.

• Dent had his third coast-to-coast game-winning layup of the season (vs. UT Arlington, at New Mexico State, tonight)
• New Mexico had just four turnovers, tied for the third-lowest total in program history and the fewest since four at Boise State in 2013-14
• JT Toppin set the UNM freshman blocks record with 51, eclipsing the previous record of 50 by Kenny Thomas (1995-96)
• The Lobos have defeated three ranked teams in The Pit in a season for the first time ever
• UNM clinches at least a .500 record in the Mountain West for the first time since 2017-18 (finished 12-6)
• New Mexico has led by double figures at some point of all 21 wins this season

“It was a great win. We knew we had to have that game. We have a lot of respect for Colorado State and Isaiah Stevens has been one of the best players to play in this league in a long time. I did not want to walk out of this building with another loss. Our fans deserve to walk out with a win. We found a way against a really good team and I am just so proud of our guys. At the end, it was give the ball to Donnie and let him figure it out. When you have six or seven seconds, you don’t have a lot of time to go run a play. Just put in his hands and he’ll make the right play and he did so again tonight.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos will conclude the two-game homestand on Saturday with a matchup with Air Force. Game time is 2 p.m. and the game will air on CBS Sports Network. Tickets for that game are also on sale at