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Men's basketball: Lobos defeat the giants of the Mountain West

The Lobo men's basketball team went up against the top ranked Mountain West team, the Utah State Aggies, on Tuesday, Jan. 16 – taking a victory. They improved to 15-3 overall and 3-2, and gave the Aggies their second loss of the season, falling to 16-2. It was a hard-fought victory for the Lobos as they took the game 99-86.

"It's great to have back-to-back wins against Division I teams. It was special, and we broke their 15-win streak," Head Coach Richard Pitino said.

The game started off evenly matched. Nelly Junior Joseph (#23) scored quick in the match with a layup and a dunk, assisted by guards Donovan Dent (#2) and Jamal Mashburn Jr. (#5). In the first 12 minutes, the Lobos put on a solid offensive display passing into the paint, allowing for players like Junior Joseph and JT Toppin (#15) to pick up basket after basket.

By the second quarter, the Lobos brought the score to 29-21.

Extending the lead, Jaelen House (#10) was able to steal and make a breakaway for a basket. Off of that momentum, the Lobos kept up the high pace with passing and layups. The Aggies were still able to keep their own aggression up with players like Darius Brown II (#10) and Great Osobor (#1) who showed to be a great duo.

House was called for a flagrant foul – his fourth personal – and would send Aggies’ Ian Martinez (#4) to the line to shoot two free throws. After the shots, Dent would come out and grab a sneaky steal for a two-handed dunk.

While the team was scoring in the paint, the usual three-point shooters were not having any luck; University of New Mexico shot 5-19 from the three-point line. While the offense was making headway, the defense came to shine too and shut down the Aggies.

Dent held onto the ball for the final shot of the half, allowing the clock to tick down, but at the last moment broke through and found a layup. The Lobos ended the half by 16 at 55-39.

The second half started off scrappy and fast with Dent pushing through the box and putting the ball up. Dent was also fouled and got a free throw on top of it. The pair of our tallest, Mustapha Amzil (#22) and Junior Joseph, both showed great offensive and defensive ball movement.

The Aggies’ guard, Martinez, put on his own display of great shooting and passing during the third quarter. With three three-pointers in a row and multiple steals, Martinez brought back some of the momentum for the Aggies and kept the score close.

The Lobos were determined to keep up the pressure and stay in the lead. Mashburn Jr. was able to kick it up a notch and made great back-to-back assists, making the Lobo fans roar. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Lobos have the lead, but with the Aggies closing in at 77-67.

The Lobos went on to display not only great individual talent, but team coherency with their plays. Passing in the paint, rebounds and a scrappy three-person effort to make a single basket from Tru Washington (#3), Dent and Amzil finally sank the ball.

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The Lobos defense was strong, and a block on Aggie Osobor left him with a hurt knee; he sat out the rest of the game. This was the end of Utah's offense. Junior Joseph had 26 points, eight rebounds and five blocks against the Aggies.

"I wasn't expecting to have my best game tonight. I was just going out and playing basketball – just hooping. It’s simple for me," Junior Joseph said.

The recorded 13,106 fans in The Pit were electric when the final buzzer went off and our boys took home back-to-back wins against Quad 1 teams. The Lobos won with a 13-point lead at 99-86.

The Lobos will go on to have two games on the road against the Air Force Falcons and San Jose Spartans. The team will return to The Pit on Sunday, Jan. 28 where they will face off against the Nevada Wolf Pack.

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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