The Lobos had their first game of the season at home at The Pit against the Southern Texas Tigers and took home a dominant win on Monday, Nov. 6.
The game started off evenly, but was quickly taken over for a 92-55 win. Then on Nov. 9, the Lobos lost 72-58 against #23 ranked St. Mary’s. The Lobos were without their star guard Jaelen House for the game due to injury.
In the first game of the season, the Lobos had four players in double-digit scoring with a very balanced offense.
Jamal Mashburn Jr. played a great game with 5-10 at shooting with 2-3 three-pointers and 5-5 free throws in the match. He led the team in scoring with 15 points.
“I’m a captain of this squad so everyone’s looking at me to be that voice and the person they can talk to,” Mashburn said.
Freshman JT Toppin had a near double-double off the bench with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Lobos starting lineup consisted of familiar faces like #2 Donovan Dent, #5 Mashburn Jr. and returning player #10 House. Even while the Tigers got the tip off, the first half started off great for the Lobos. Mashburn Jr. made a quick two-point fadeaway to start it off and started at a fierce pace.
#3 Tru Washington got to have a great steal and pass to #0 Jemarl Baker Jr. that landed them a 12-0 point streak. By the first media timeout the score was 15-9 with the Lobos up.
The Lobos once again started off strong again. #22 Mustapha Amzil had a great alley-oop pass into a two handed dunk. Mashburn Jr. went on to make a fast cross-court pass to Dent, who scored a three-pointer.
The Lobos played a great offensive game and refused to let the ball get thrown in without a fight for it. During the beginning of the second half, Dent was able to steal the ball away from the Tigers and proceeded to dunk on them. The aggression didn’t stop there as every player showed off their tight nit ball work when it came to passing.
Fans at The Pit came out and put on their own great performance with a large turnout and yells that made the floor feel like it shook. Head Coach Richard Pitino sang the crowd’s praises in the post game interview.
“This building is special – as I’ve said many times – but if you’re playing that hard with these fans, I would be very surprised if we’re losing these games,” Pitino said. “The fans are fuel for our guys out there.”
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While it seemed like the Tigers were left in the dust for the majority of the game, there were moments where they showed some flashy plays. #11 Jonathan Cisse was playing scrappy throughout the game while his teammate #2 Jahmar Young Jr. received an alley-oop pass for a two handed dunk.
By the last media timeout of the second half, the victory was secured with the score at 82-52. The final score was 92-55.
All of the players showed great chemistry on the court – something that Mashburn Jr. says is growing on and off the court.
“Our chemistry is elite. I know it’s cliche, but we love each other and hang out. We enjoy being with each other, and when that translates onto the court, it’s beautiful,”Mashburn Jr said.
The Lobos dropped the second game of the season 72-58. The #23 ranked St. Mary's Gaels had an excellent display both on offense and defense. Once they took the lead, the Lobos spent the rest of the game chasing after it.
Dent led the team in scoring with 15 points and Nelly Junior Joseph had a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.
While last year's undefeated run was incredibly fun, Lobo fans can take solace in the program earning $75,009 for the buy game and maybe could have pulled off an upset similar to last year with a healthy House.
The Lobos will be home again for their game against UT Arlington on Nov. 16.
BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BillyJackDL
BillyJack Davidson is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached on Twitter @BillyJackDL