JT Toppin has been named the Mountain West's Freshman of the Week four times this season and was recently ranked at #12 in Andy Katz’s top freshmen. However, he said basketball wasn’t always his sport of choice. He started playing football but after watching basketball with his grandparents, he decided to switch it up. From Dallas, Texas, freshman forward for the Lobo basketball team, Toppin, has been making his mark at The Pit. With his ability to produce on both ends of the court, Toppin has a talent that is helping push the Lobos basketball ahead this season. Toppin has continued to excel on the court and work to make a name for himself. With 17 points and 11 rebounds at No. 13 Colorado State on Tuesday, Jan. 2, Toppin is the second Lobo freshman to get a double-double against a ranked opponent.
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, The University of New Mexico announced Bronco Mendenhall as the new head football coach. Mendenhall signed a five-year contract, making him the 33rd head coach for the Lobos. This is not Mendenhall’s first time in Albuquerque, as he was the defensive coordinator and associate head coach for the Lobos under Head Coach Rocky Long from 1998-2002. Mendenhall has been coaching college football for 32 years and has been a head coach for 17. Out of his years as a head coach, his teams were bowl eligible 16 out of 17 seasons and snagged seven bowl victories.
The men's basketball team faced off against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Wednesday, Nov. 29. In the first half, the Lobos started hot, going on a 14 to one run mid-way through the half, led by freshman guard Tru Washington. Offensively, he shot an efficient 4-6 – two of those buckets coming from the three-point line. Washington finished with 10 points and four rebounds in the game.
Saturday, Dec. 2 saw the University of New Mexico Lobos and the New Mexico State University Aggies men’s basketball teams meet for the first time since November 2022. Last November, a conflict between UNM students and former members of the NMSU basketball team ended in the death of Brandon Travis – a UNM student. Head Coach Pitino commented on the conflict during a press conference on Friday, Dec. 1 and how that would affect Saturday night’s game. “It was obviously a huge tragedy, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the rivalry,” Pitino said. UNM’s Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez and NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia felt the rivalry could resume safely with security precautions, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Saturday night, The Pit was filled to capacity as the Lobos put on a show-stopping performance, winning 106-62 and taking their seventh game in the season, almost doubling their opponents' score.
The Lobos defeated the New Mexico State Aggies 67-52. The University of New Mexico improved to a 6-2 record and NMSU fell to 4-3. UNM had four players in double-digit scoring. Paula Reus and Charlotte Kohl led the team in scoring with 15 points each. Reus added eight rebounds and five assists. Kohl finished with 13 rebounds and four blocks. Aniyah Augmon scored 10 points and had five steals in the game. Vianè Cumber had an injury to her shoulder and was unable to play the second half so Lara Langermann came off the bench and played the third most minutes on the team with 32. She hit two three-pointers to keep up the Lobos' offensive momentum.
In a press release Saturday night, the University of New Mexico announced the dismissal of the football Head Coach Danny Gonzales. Gonzales coached for four years and had an overall record of 11-32 and 5-26 in conference play. In a press conference on Sunday, Nov. 26, Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez stated that the level of success of the program is not what they are looking for, especially in this era of college sports. “The landscape is changing in college athletics and we want to make sure that we stay not just part of the picture, but a true contributor in the future,” Nuñez said. Gonzales, in the statement, said he will continue to support Lobo athletics and was grateful for the chance to coach the team he played for.
The women's basketball team defeated the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions 75-74 on Wednesday, Nov. 15. It was a back and forth game with the largest lead being seven from the University of New Mexico. The team improved to 4-0 on the season. The Lions are coached by Valerie King. King had spent the last 13 seasons working with Head Coach Mike Bradbury – seven of them being at UNM. Former Lobo star Jaedyn De La Cerda is in her first coaching position and is one of the winningest players in program history – being 10th all-time in scoring. Both were treated to cheers from the crowd before the game. After the game, Bradbury talked about the state of King’s team.
As New Mexico United continues its search for a permanent home to host games, surrounding businesses and homeowners look towards the incoming crowds and form their gameplan. Currently, the City hopes to lease seven acres of land at Balloon Fiesta Park where New Mexico United would be able to build their stadium. The stadium itself would be funded privately and the team would be required to put down $30 million for it to be built, according to the City’s website. Jeff Jinnett, owner of the brewery La Reforma, spoke about his excitement surrounding the possibility of a new stadium.
The University of New Mexico men’s cross country team finished third at the Mountain Region Championships on Nov. 10 to qualify for the NCAA Championship. The women’s team finished seventh. In his first collegiate 10K, Habtom Samuel won the Mountain Region individual championship with a time of 28:57.6. Samuel, along with Evans Kiplagat and Lukas Kiprop, all finished within the top four to receive All-Region honors. “We’re fearless. We’ve got … seven incredible athletes. They’re all running really well but three will look to be All-Americans,” Darren Gauson said — UNM’s head coach.
The men’s basketball team defeated University of Texas at Arlington 82-80 on Thursday, Nov. 16. The Lobos beat the Mavericks at home with a Donovan Dent buzzer-beater to go to 2-1 on the season. UT Arlington now stands at 2-1. Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 29 total points, shooting 9-23 from the field. He found himself at the charity stripe often with 13 attempts and nine makes. He shot half of the Lobos’ total free throws. Along with a layup buzzer-beater, Dent had a career-high 25 points along with five assists, two steals and a block.
The Lobos lost to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels 56-14 on Saturday, Nov. 4. University of New Mexico fell to a 3-6 record; the team will have to win their final three games to remain bowl eligible. On special teams, the Lobos gave up a combined 206 yards on punt and kick returns – leading to excellent field position for UNLV's offense on a majority of their drives. Head Coach Danny Gonzales said that is what cost them the game.
The women’s basketball team beat the Tarleton State Texans 64-55 on Sunday, Nov. 12. It was their third game of the season and they remain undefeated with a 3-0 record. The Texans fell to a 1-2 record. University of New Mexico led for 39:21 and survived a disastrous fourth quarter where they saw a 20-point lead shrink to eight, however they executed late to protect the lead and earn the win.
The Fresno State Bulldogs beat the Lobos 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20) at home on Thursday, Nov. 9. Going into the game, the Lobos, the Bulldogs and the Colorado State Rams were in a three-way tie for second place in the Mountain West Conference. This was University of New Mexicou2019s second loss against the Bulldogs this season. The Lobos are now 10-6 in conference and 18-9, and are currently tied for second place in the conference. With two games left in the season, the Lobos need to win one to clinch a spot in the conference tournament.
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 to 72-58 against #23 ranked St. Maryu2019s. 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.
The 2023 Hall of Honor inductees include a star-studded list of athletes who have played for University of New Mexico. Small forward and NBA veteran Danny Granger and tennis player Matthieu Amgwerd are a few of the names included on that list.
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 University of New Mexico’s men’s cross country team took the Mountain West Championship title on Oct. 27 while in Boise. The women’s team took fourth in the MW Championship race. Habtom Samuel along with Evans Kiplagat and Lukas Kiprop all finished in 1-2-3 order crossing the line within 30 seconds of each other. This is the first time that the men’s team has won the conference title since 2014.
The women's basketball team won their second and final exhibition game 60-45 against the Adams State Grizzlies on Oct. 29. The Lobos took control in the fourth quarter for a win, despite mistakes made throughout the game. The team shot 38.3% from the field, 28% from the three-point line and went 7-14 on free throws. They also gave up 21 turnovers in the game. On offense, they had three players in double digit scoring. Vianè Cumber led the team with 16 points. Aniyah Augmon scored 10 points and earned four rebounds, two assists and two steals but had five turnovers. Nyah Wilson showed out in the second half, scoring all 11 of her points. After the game, Wilson said that the Grizzlies' physicality was good for them because they will learn how to adjust to bad starts in the future.
Last season, the Lobos were 8-10 in conference play and 22-12 overall. In the Mountain West Preseason Poll, the Lobos were selected to finish third this season. Under Head Coach Richard Pitino and assistant coaches, the University of New Mexico looks promising for the upcoming season.