Open Announce

Lobos Down Boise State 76-66 to Reach Mountain West Semifinals

by Steve Kirkland

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament for the first time in six years with a 76-66 victory over Boise State in a Thursday night quarterfinal at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Lobos (24-9) led the Broncos (22-10) throughout the second half to post their second straight double-digit postseason win.

Jaelen House led New Mexico with 29 points, while Donovan Dent added 22 points and a career-high five steals. JT Toppin led the Lobos with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Dent got the Lobos started, scoring the team’s first seven points as UNM led 7-2 after three minutes. A 7-0 Boise State run gave them the lead, 9-7, with 14:45 left in the half. An 8-1 run, sparked by two triples from Jemarl Baker, Jr., gave UNM a 15-10 lead with 12:30 remaining in the half. New Mexico led 20-15 at the midway point of the half after a technical foul on Boise State coach Leon Rice. The lead grew to 29-20 with 5:45 to play in the half and 33-24 with three minutes left. UNM took a 35-26 lead into the break as House scored 10 in the first half to lead the Lobos.

In the second half, after the Lobos took an 11-point lead with a basket on the opening possession, Boise State cut the margin to 44-40 with 15:00 minutes left. A personal 8-0 run by Dent pushed the advantage back to double figures at 52-40 with 12:10 left to play. New Mexico led 54-48 at the midway point of the half before the Lobos pushed the margin back to 10 at 60-50 with 7:10 left. Boise State cut the margin to 64-58 with 3:25 to play before a House layup made it an eight-point game with 3:00 to go. Boise State cut the margin to 66-61 with 1:36 left before Dent’s two FTs made it a seven-point game. UNM led 71-64 with 40 seconds left before a Bronco dunk with 31.1 cut the margin to five. House would make four free throws and Amzil made one in the final seconds to seal the 10-point victory for UNM.

• House (1,502 points) became the 13th Lobo to score over 1,500 points in their UNM career
• The Lobos had (10) steals, their 12th game this season with double-digit steals, tying the school record (2019-20 and 2004-05)
• Boise State’s 25.0% shooting (7-28) in the first half was the lowest in a half by a UNM opponent this season
• The Broncos shot 29.4% for the game (20-68), matching the lowest percentage by a UNM opponent this season (Texas Southern also shot 20-68 for 29.4% in the season opener) and setting a record for the lowest FG% by a UNM opponent in a Mountain West Tournament game

“We defended and rebounded extremely well. We battled with a high level of toughness. You can’t beat Boise State unless you scratch and claw, and our guys fought tonight. It is a huge win and I’m so very proud of them. They deserve it. Our fans were amazing. It felt like a home game. We beat a great team. It was an amazing night. We will enjoy it for a little longer, but we have to move on shortly for another tough game tomorrow.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos advance to the Mountain West semifinals to play No. 7 seed Colorado State on Friday. The Rams upset No. 2 seed Nevada, 85-78 in the quarterfinals. Game time at the Thomas & Mack Center is 9:00 pm PT (10:00 pm MT) and the game will air on CBS Sports Network.