The University of New Mexico men's basketball team defeated the Western New Mexico University Mustangs 102-63 on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The Lobos improved to an 8-0 record and are one of ten undefeated teams in the nation.
There were five Lobos with double digit scoring, and all 12 Lobos who played scored in the game. This included Mac Manzanares and Safi Fino-A-Laself who each scored their first points as a member of the Lobos.
Morris Udeze led the team in scoring with 18 points, and Josiah Allick grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds. Off of the bench, Birima Seck had a career night, scoring 11 points and getting eight rebounds in just 11 minutes of play.
Udeze scored the first 3 points for the Lobos, making one of his free throws and then dunking on his defender. The Lobos gave up two early 3-pointers but then went on a 12-0 run that was ended with a layup off of a turnover by Dane Quest. The Lobos were up 19-8 at the media timeout with 11:44 left in the first half.
Out of the timeout, Jaelen House passed to Udeze in the post, and he was fouled on his successful layup and made his free throw. That sequence was part of a 13-0 run that put the Lobos up 38-12. At the end of the first half, UNM was up 49-20.
By the end of the half, all of the starters were out of the game and the bench unit played the last two minutes.
The starters were back in to start the second half; Udeze scored the first points of the half on a layup, and Jamal Mashburn Jr. followed it up with a mid-range jumpshot. While up by nearly 30 points, the Lobo defense started to relax and the Mustangs went on an 8-2 run; they were still down 60-35.
Mustang Joshuwan Johnson hit a 3-pointer and WNMU started a full-court press. The Lobos were up 64-38 at the media timeout with 12:00 left in the game. The Mustangs had some momentum, but the Lobo lead would prove too much to overcome.
Braden Appelhans made a jump shot, and Donovan Dent followed it up with a steal on the Mustangs inbound and made an easy layup. The Lobos started dominating again, forcing turnovers and scoring nearly every possession. The Lobos were up 95-53 with 3:28 left in the game.
With all the starters on the bench, the Lobos won 102-63.
After the game, Appelhans talked about the team's mentality going in and how he played extended minutes.
"Treat it like we're playing St. Mary's again: just keep your foot on the gas and don't let up … It was great, playing in front of the fans. I'll remember that forever. It was a great time," Appelhans said.
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In his press conference, head coach Richard Pitino said he told his team to use this game as a chance to get better and was thankful for the fans in attendance.
"I told our guys we've been going lighter in practice, use this as an advantage today as an opportunity to get better. So 8-0, we're excited about it. The crowd: I've said over and over again, there are not too many places that get 8,000 (fans) on a Tuesday for a division 2 team," Pitino said.
The Lobos next play against University of Texas, San Antonio on Saturday, Dec. 10 at The Pit.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thomasbulger10