On Saturday, Jan. 7 the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels at The Pit in front of a sold out crowd. The Lobos have an overall record of 14-2 and are 1-2 in conference play. The Lobos have lost two games in a row after a 14-0 run to start to the season.
UNLV had a hot start from the 3-point line and finished making eight of their 22 attempts; they also made 18 of their 24 free throws. This was UNLV’s first conference win of the season.
Morris Udeze led the team in points and rebounding with 22 and 13; he also had three steals. Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 19 points in the game. Jaelen House finished with 12 points and four steals.
Elijah Harkless, the standout player for UNLV this game, scored 25 points, making eight of his 16 shots and all seven of his free throws.
Mashburn started the game with a mid-range jump shot, and House followed it up with a steal and an easy layup. UNM started the game on an 8-0 run that was ended with a Harkless jumpshot, and on the next possession, Harkless was fouled and made both free throws. At the first media timeout, UNM was up 10-4 with 15:29 left in the first half.
Out of the timeout, UNLV’s Jordan McCabe hit a 3-pointer to cut into the Lobo lead, but House had back-to-back steals to build back the lead. House then made a 3-pointer to put the Lobos up by 10. With 7:56 left in the half, the Lobos were winning 26-14.
Donovan Dent then made an impressive shot driving the lane with the shot clock expiring. Javonté Johnson had a dunk on the fastbreak via a pass from Dent to force UNLV to take a timeout. This led to a Lobo turnover and UNLV scoring a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 5.
UNM was up by just 2 when Mashburn and House were subbed back into the game to finish the half. Luis Rodriguez made a 3-pointer to put UNLV down 39-38. The Lobos finished the half with House scoring a layup and Udeze scoring a dunk off of a turnover. The Lobos were up 43-38 going into the second half.
The Lobo guards were plagued with fouls in the first half: House, Mashburn and Dent all had two fouls each. This led to KJ Jenkins getting extended minutes after missing the previous game.
The second half started with three consecutive Lobo turnovers and UNLV going on a 9-0 run which put them up 47-43. UNM was forced to call a timeout to try to stop the Runnin’ Rebels’ momentum. Mashburn made a mid-range jump shot to put the Lobos within 1, but more fouling from the guards allowed UNLV to take the lead via free throws.
Jenkins then hit a 3-pointer, but the Lobos were still down 63-58. Udeze had a dunk and Mashburn made a layup. Johnson scored a 3-pointer to put the Lobos within 2 with 5:18 left in the game.
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The Lobos kept scoring, but they also kept fouling. Rodriguez was fouled on a made layup and made his free throw to put UNLV up 78-71. UNM came back into the game with free throws and driving the lane. Mashburn drove the lane to put UNM down 4. With 33 seconds left the Lobos were able to prevent UNLV from inbounding and Mashburn was fouled on his 3-point attempt, but missed two of his free throws. UNM immediately fouled, but Rodriguez made both his free throws to seal the game. UNM lost 84-77.
The Lobos will next play against Oral Roberts University at The Pit on Monday, Jan 9.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10