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Men’s Basketball: Lobos bring home their fifth straight win

The University of New Mexico’s men’s basketball team played their seventh conference match of the season at The Pit against the Nevada Wolf Pack and took home a sound victory for their fifth win in a row. The Lobos put on a dominant performance with five players scoring double figures and closing the game out with a 34-point lead at 89-55.

On Monday, Jan. 29, the team swept the weekly conference awards with Jaelen House (#10) earning conference player of the week and JT Toppin (#15) earning another “Freshman of the Week” award. The team also improved to the #19 place in the Associated Press’ poll and now stands 18-3 overall, 6-2 in conference play and 11-0 at home.

In the first six minutes, the Lobos put on a 10-0 run. Jamal Mashburn Jr. (#5) was able to pick up the first points with a jump shot. The end of the run saw JT Toppin sink a three-pointer, forcing Nevada to take a second timeout.

The Lobos offense took off with style. Jaelen House and Mustapha Amzil (#22) successfully passed under and around the paint. The first half of the game had more of Isaac Mushila (#12) in the mix, and Mushila grabbed four rebounds in his five minutes. Mashburn Jr. was in good form making threes and a mid-air pass to Joseph that led to a dunk.

Head Coach Richard Pitino spoke about his players’ defense against a well known aggressive team like Nevada.

“It starts with on-the-ball defense … and then being able to keep applying that pressure onto the team so that we can turn them over, and once that happens we’re really hard to stop,” Pitino said.

In the last minute of the half, Junior Joseph was able to get a block and secure a rebound that turned into a basket. The Lobos ended the half up with 38-24.

The Lobos showed off their skill in the second half of the game. First, Donovan Dent (#2) turned a steal into an assist to Mashburn, then he had an underhand layup and two back-to-back one-handed dunks.

From there, the game seemed to slow down for the Lobos whose defense, once again, came out fresh and strong with players like Tru Washington (#3). For Nevada, their offense got to shine with players Tylan Pope (#33) and Nick Davidson (#11) finding success at the rim. The Lobos were up 53-41 at the media timeout with 11:06 left in the game.

The Wolf Pack came back with Pope going a fastbreak for a dunk, but the Lobos didn't let their momentum build. House started making plays towards the paint and looked to pass back to the three-point line, allowing Amzil and Washington to each make their own baskets. House was able to finish off a third three-pointer but was called on for taunting.

House ended his game with 21 points, six assists and a season high six steals, completing his 200th steal for his Lobo career.

“We came in knowing that we had to give our best effort defensively, or otherwise we were going to get run over, and we brought it,” House said.

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House finished his run in the fourth with another three-pointer, only to be fouled and made two free throws. Coming into the last three minutes of the match, Pitino decided to let the starters rest and brought in Mushila, Washington, Jemarl Baker Jr. (#0), Branden Appelhans (#1) and Sebastian Forsling (#21). The new five came off the bench scrappy and fired up as their teammates had taken the lead to 30 points.

In the final minute, Washington secured a steal and held on to the ball while the buzzer went off, securing the fifth win in a row for our boys. The Lobos closed out the game with a 34-point lead at 89-55.

The Lobos will be staying home for their second game of the week where they play against the Boise State Broncos on Wednesday, Jan. 31. 

BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @BillyJackDL

BillyJack Davidson

BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached on Twitter @BillyJackDL 

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