A pair of big early runs by Maryland proved to be too much for the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team to overcome Saturday afternoon, as the Lobos lost again at the Emerald Coast Classic.
Maryland (6-1) jumped all over New Mexico on Saturday in the tournament’s consolation game. The Terrapins scored the first eight points of the game and then responded with a 19-0 run after UNM was finally able to put its first points on the scoreboard.
The shaky start for the Lobos put them in a 27-3 hole to start the game — a deficit that seemed insurmountable as the Terrapins cruised to an 80-65 victory.
New Mexico (2-4, 0-0 MW) missed 11 of its first 12 shots, the lone bucket coming from long range when freshman guard/forward Makuach Malauch broke the first scoreless drought. The defense wasn’t any better, surrendering an opening dunk and three 3-pointers before the first media timeout.
In the first seven minutes of the game, the Lobos committed seven turnovers and gave up five 3-pointers — which was a recipe for disaster.
UNM head coach Paul Weir said he thought the Lobos played a good game after the rough start, but spotting a quality program like Maryland such a large lead was essentially where the game was won. He credited the Terrapins for coming out with a defensive intensity that UNM didn’t answer.
“I thought their defensive energy to start the game was tremendous, and I thought that countered with our offensive lack of energy,” Weir said in a release. “We just couldn’t get a bucket, and you have to tip your cap to them for coming out with a lot of pop defensively.”
The Lobos were able to slowly chip away at the lead, pulling within 18 points by halftime but was never able to get things down to single digits to pose a serious threat.
UNM junior guard Chris McNeal found some offense in the second half, posting 13 points over the final 20 minutes to give him 19 points for the game.
But he didn’t get much help, as the Lobos shot just 33.3 percent against the Terrapins. It appeared nobody felt the shooting woes more than Antino Jackson, who went 0-for-10 for the game. Jackson did have three assists and a steal, but his offensive presence is probably something UNM needs to have in order to compete.
Maryland saw a dip in field goal percentage in the second half but still shot a healthy 55.2 percent for the game.
New Mexico was able to make a late run to close the gap and make things appear closer than perhaps they actually were. But despite the 15-point final margin of victory, the Terrapins led by 20 or more for most of the second half, enjoying its largest lead at 77-51 at the 4:24 mark.
One positive takeaway for the Lobos was the performance at the free throw line, where the team knocked down all 14 of its attempts.
But in a narrative that is becoming all too familiar, UNM was almost doubled up in the defensive rebounding category. Maryland snagged 29 boards on the defensive end, compared to just 15 for New Mexico.
The Lobos struggled in the paint again as well, giving up 30 points while scoring just 16 themselves down low.
Saturday’s loss was the fourth-straight defeat for New Mexico after a 2-0 start. The team will look to get back in the win column when it returns to Albuquerque to host Evansville on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.