The Lobos men's basketball team won their second exhibition match against the New Mexico Highland Cowboys and took home a hard fought victory.
Off of the success from the game against Colorado State University Pueblo, the team went into the match hoping to continue to work out the kinks, and they did just that.
#2 Donovan Dent and #5 Jamal Mashburn Jr. were in the starting lineup and both players would stay on the court for almost the entire game. Mashburn led the team in scoring with 25 but Dent wasn’t that far behind with 23. They combined for 13-16 from the free throw line.
The Cowboys took the tip off, but our boys stole the ball right from them in the second minute of the game. #23 Nelly Junior Joseph saw some early action with a quick pass from Dent off a steal which led Joseph to an easy layup and was fouled; Joseph made the 1-and-1 free throw.
The start of the game saw an explosive performance from the Lobos. At the first media timeout of the half, the score was 14-4. The Cowboys had started to show some of their own fire with a steal and fade away shot by #24 AC Curry.
After the timeout, the Cowboys made three three-point shots in a row to tie up the score and created some nice momentum for themselves. By the time the next media timeout came around, the score was neck and neck at 29-28 with Lobos down by one.
The final minutes of the first half were scrappy from both teams with multiple fumbles and players on the ground, but both showed no time for stopping.
The opposing point guard to Dent was #1 Kyrie Thomas who showed off his resourcefulness. Both players kept going back and forth with one other while another Lobo player showed off consistent skill.
The half came to an end after another stylish layup from the Cowboy’s Curry, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead over our boys – the score being 41-37.
Head Coach Richard Pitino said that the past two exhibition games have been really great for the team.
“We know what our weaknesses are – those games were great in pointing it out. We need to get better at guarding the ball and better at rebounding the ball,” Pitino said. “It was great for the experience we got. We got a lot of new guys, and now a lot of footage to review.”
Once again, the second half of the game saw the Lobos explode – this time with Dent who was able to take the ball early on and rush straight into the box for an easy layup.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
The Cowboys kept the score within five points for the third quarter of the game, constantly trading two-point shots with the Lobos. But #15 JT Toppin received a cross-court pass and proceeded to slam the ball in the hoop to help change the momentum.
It was a close and hard fought game from both teams. By the second media timeout of the half, the score was at 65-64 with the Cowboys in possession of the lead. But it wouldn’t last long. Pitino made the call to send in #11 Quinton Webb.
Leading the team in steals and rebounds with three and nine, Webb said he’s blessed for what he got to do on the court.
“I got good guards; every time they can take the shot, I tell them to take it. And if you miss, I’ll go and get it off the rim,” Webb said.
The Lobos had a great last seven minutes of defense as they slowly stopped ball movement from the Cowboys. What finally broke the offense of Highlands was a mid-air steal from #3 Tru Washington who let the ball fly towards Webb, who then got his own two-handed slam dunk.
The last 10 minutes of the game, the Lobos truly came into form and finally made the score difference widen, even if it wasn’t by much.
The Lobos closed out the game with a score of 86-73. The team won’t have long of a break as Monday, Nov. 6 is the official start of the season. Both the women’s and men’s teams will be facing the respective teams of Texas Southern University at The Pit.
BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BillyJackDL
BillyJack Davidson is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached on Twitter @BillyJackDL