Game Recap: New Mexico 94, UTSA 76
Lobo quartet shows up again in double-digit win.
New Mexico secures win over UTSA at home, another big showing from their stars.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM–The New Mexico Lobos have the whole city buzzing with their impressive 9-0 start to the season. A start that includes quality road wins over Southern Methodist & St. Mary’s. As well as a sweep of the Lobo Classic, with three wins in three days to round out the month of November.
But, after what is usually an expected win over D-II Western New Mexico on Tuesday. The Lobos welcomed the UTSA Roadrunners to the Pit on Saturday afternoon. For a tougher challenge, and as always an undefeated streak on the line.
The home team was intense defensively to start the game. Making life difficult at the top of the key and boasting active hands in the paint. Also testing the Roadrunners conditioning, running and gunning from the first whistle. The score showed that disparity with the New Mexico lead reaching 20-points multiple times before half-time. This offensive charge was led by guard Jaelen House (15 points) and big man Morris Udeze (14 points). Both of whom, reached double figures in just about ten minutes of play.
The Roadrunners kept the Lobos humble with runs before and after half-time to cut the lead to as little as seven before Jamal Mashburn Jr. caught steam. The junior guard scored 13 of his 18 points in the second-half and took some of the defensive pressure off of Udeze, giving him better looks to face up and draw fouls.
“We are playing terrific offensive basketball. We are efficient, unselfish and executing in the half-court very well. So another balanced performance. It is great to be a 9-0 and it was an awesome crowd. Now we have a big one on Monday, so we have to get some rest, relax, watch a lot of game film and put together a great game plan for San Francisco.” coach Pitino on the win.
The Lobos were able to fend off a UTSA squad shooting very efficiently from deep to secure the win (UTSA was 10-23, 43% against the Lobos). With their quartet of stars accounting for 76 of the team’s 94 overall points, New Mexico moves to 9-0 on the season with a target on their back as one of two remaining Mountain West teams undefeated.
With only three games left on the non-conference slate, the Lobos have the chance to enter conference play undefeated for the first time since the 95-96 season.
New Mexico: Gr. F Morris Udeze
The 6-8 transfer big man is surely on everyone’s list as a Mountain West Newcomer of the Year frontrunner half-way through December. As Udeze is making his mark on the Lobo program, one slam dunk, free throw and poster at a time.
New Mexico’s current leading scorer didn’t disappoint on Saturday afternoon. Leading all scorers with 24 points while also chipping in 8 rebounds & two blocked shots. Udeze did his damage in just 29 minutes on the day, shooting 70.0% from the floor and 76.3% from the foul stripe. Going 10-13 from the free throw line, keeping pace with New Mexico’s star guards.
— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) December 10, 2022
Southern Methodist: Fr. G DJ Richards
DJ Richards didn’t necessarily do anything fancy for the Roadrunners on Saturday. The 6-5 guard from Houston, TX simply did everything he was supposed to do right. With 20 points & 6 rebounds at the final buzzer, Richards exposed the Lobos’ perimeter defense all game long.
Shooting 4-8 from the field, 4-6 from deep to go along with 8-9 from the free throw line. The freshman had arguably his best game against the Lobos, and kept his team in this one before and after the half.
DJ cans his third three of the half to give him a team-high nine points.
— UTSA Basketball (@UTSAMBB) December 10, 2022
- The versatility of this Lobo squad is very exciting. The scoring distribution throughout the game is key to what makes this team dangerous. House and Udeze began to crash after amazing performances in the first 10-15 minutes of the game. UTSA began to chip away at the Lobos’ lead before the half. Insert, Jamal Mashburn Jr., who had 18 points, 3 assists & 2 rebounds against the Roadrunners. With 13 of those points coming in the second-half. It was easy to see House go from “bucket getter” to “floor general” in each half. Having guys like Mashburn Jr., Udeze & Josiah Allick make it easy to make that transition when the shots aren’t falling.
- The energy from this team is amazing, as the game began any defensive board or steal on the perimeter was almost immediately turned into a fast break. Not to mention the active hands from New Mexico’s backcourt along with Javonte Johnson and Josiah Allick active all over the floor.
- This was a great win to prepare the Lobos for a potential resume building win on Monday in the Jack Jones Hoopsfest. Facing a similarly offensively styled foe, who shoot plenty of threes. Making a film study session figuring out mistakes, easy to point to.
- Lastly, bench depth is coming along. Freshman Donovan Dent is right there with senior KJ Jenkins as high impact players off of the bench. But, what I was excited to see was sophomore big man Sebastian Forsling bully his way to the charity stripe in the last five minutes or so. He ended the night with 5 points, 4 rebounds & a blocked shot in just 9 minutes of action. This experience will be crucial over a long conference season ahead.
The Lobos have no time to celebrate a quality two-game homestand. As it’s once again time to take the show back on the road. They’ll head to the Jack Jones Hoopsfest in Las Vegas on Monday. For a neutral court matchup against a resurging San Francisco program.
New Mexico’s matchup against the Dons is set to tip-off at 9:30 PM MST/8:30 PM PT. If you wish do so, you can view the stream behind a paywall here ($).
Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.