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Lobos Fall at Boise State 89-79

by Steve Kirkland

BOISE, Idaho – The New Mexico men’s basketball team suffered an 89-79 loss at Boise State on Saturday night. The Lobos (21-8, 9-7 MW) couldn’t overcome a strong second half by the Broncos (21-8, 12-4 MW) as they lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

JT Toppin led New Mexico with 21 points on 9-12 shooting from the floor, while also adding eight rebounds and three blocks. Jamal Mashburn, Jr. scored 19 points, matching his conference season high, while Donovan Dent had 11 points and six assists. Tru Washington added 10 points off the bench.

Both teams got off to a strong start offensively, with the Lobos up 11-9 after five minutes of play. The Broncos would use an 11-1 run to take a 18-12 lead with 11:50 to play. UNM scored five straight to cut the margin to 18-17 at the midway point and retook the lead, 21-20, with 8:30 left. The teams traded the lead for several minutes before Boise State took a 29-27 lead with 4:00 to play. The game was tied 31-31 with 2:00 left before the Broncos took a 35-33 lead into the break. Toppin had 13 first-half points to lead New Mexico.

In the second half, Boise State pushed the advantage to 39-33 with the first four points of the half. The Bronco advantage grew to 49-41 with 14:15 to play as UNM went over three minutes without a field goal and was 54-43 with 13:00 to go. After Boise State led 58-48 at the midway point of the half, the Lobos scored five straight to cut the lead in half with 8:50 to play. A 6-0 Boise State run made the lead 66-55 with 7:00 to go and led 71-59 with 5:00 to play. The Broncos led by as many as 17 in the final minutes as they closed out the 89-79 victory.

• All three of Toppin’s 20-point games this season have come away from home
• Nelly Junior Joseph had 12 rebounds for his fifth double-digit rebound game in Mountain West play
• New Mexico has started the same five (Dent, Mashburn, House, Toppin, Joseph) in every Mountain West game this season

“They were very physical with us. Their strength, along with our foul trouble, made it hard on us. A lot of the problems in the second half were empty possessions because of turnovers. Those silly turnovers allowed them to get out on the break. We were guarding in the first half, just not rebounding. Then in the second half their pressure allowed them to take control. We have to learn from it and get ready for Wednesday night. We need to stay positive because there is a lot of basketball to play.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos will conclude its home schedule on Wednesday by hosting Fresno State. Game time will be 8:30 p.m. and the game will air on FS1.