The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team won their first conference play win against the San José State University Spartans 86-70 Friday, Jan. 27 at The Pit. This win broke a seven-game losing streak and brought the team to 1-7 in conference and 8-13 overall. The Spartans were also winless in conference play, and, like the Lobos, are in a rebuilding year with a new head coach and multiple new players. The Spartans offense gets 41.1% of their points from three-point makes, the 15th-highest percentage in the country, according to KenPom. UNM head coach Richard Pitino said before the game that Spartans guard Omari Moore would need to be a focus of the Lobos defense.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost what could have been a comeback in their game against California State University, Fresno (65-60) on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at The Pit. It was the Lobos first home game after a week on the road that saw them lose closely to two of the Mountain West Conference’s premier programs, Colorado State and Wyoming; while UNM was hoping to build on that momentum for their first conference win, the men did not succeed. Fresno State entered the game 13-5 and 3-2 in conference play with a team built around the dominant Orlando Robinson, who, at 7 feet tall, posed a formidable threat against the undersized and undermanned Lobos.
As members of the Lobo Spirit program work to uphold standards of both athleticism and artistry, their physical appearance must also be put up for the consumption of both judges and the general populace alike. The pressure of expectations of how they should look often negatively impact the athletes. Fifth-year cheerleader Amaia Bracamontes is one of the many that has been affected by the public’s perception of how members of the Spirit Program should look. “Obviously, the image of a cheerleader, a lot of people think, is super small and skinny and fit … and so I think that people who don’t know a lot about cheer assume that everybody has to fit that certain image,” Bracamontes said.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team continued their unprecedented conference win streak with a 80-74 victory over California State University, Fresno Bulldogs on Saturday at The Pit. UNM is now 7-0 in conference play, though that perfect record looked to be in jeopardy throughout the first half. Fresno State started the game a little frazzled, but once they got the ball in the 2021 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Haley Cavinder’s hands consistently, it became clear what they wanted to do. Fresno State came to The Pit with a very good plan to slow the game down and play in the halfcourt, and UNM struggled to adjust to their tempo.
The University of New Mexico spirit program traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to compete against cheer and dance teams from around the nation at the 2022 UCA & UDA College National Championship, which took place from Jan. 14-16. At nationals, all-girl cheer ranked fifth out of 10 teams with an event score of 91.4833 in the Division 1A Game Day category. They placed sixth in the finals with an overall score of 87.05. Meanwhile, co-ed cheer ranked 15th out of 17 teams under Division 1A Game Day, achieving an event score of 82.6667. In the Small Co-ed Division 1A category, co-ed cheer ranked No. 10 out of 11 with an event score of 65.55.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost to Boise State University 71-63 at The Pit on Saturday, Jan. 15. UNM remains without a conference win after four games. Head coach Richard Pitino, who was back on the sideline for the first time since contracting COVID-19, made it clear why UNM lost. “They are bigger, they are stronger (and) they are older for sure,” Pitino said. “But we have to be scrappier, dirtier and meaner, especially when you are as undermanned as we are.” Where the Lobos are undermanned is at the center position, and they more than likely will be for the remainder of their season. Since the start of the 2021-22 season, UNM has lost Valdir Manuel, Gethro Muscadin and Emmanuel Kuac, all inside presences expected to play the majority of minutes at center.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost in a frenzied overtime to Utah State University 87-90 Saturday at The Pit. The Lobos were without their head coach Richard Pitino who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier that day. UNM outscored the Aggies 42-27 in the first half and shot 51.7% from the field and a scorching 10-15 from three-point range. The hot shooting was mainly the result of the Lobos’ willing ball movement, which acting head coach Eric Brown said had been a focus in the week of practices leading up to Saturday’s game. UNM tallied 12 assists in the first half alone. The Lobos played solid defense in the first half, and Utah State struggled to make shots. Javonté Johnson and Jay Allen-Tovar did a solid job defending Aggie star Justin Bean and the Lobos managed to out-rebound their opponent 18-14.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball beat San Diego State University 75-72 on Sunday, Jan. 9 at The Pit. With this win, UNM has taken the top spot in the Mountain West conference and remains undefeated in conference play 4-0. SDSU’s Kamaria Gipson punished UNM on the boards early in the game, grabbing four offensive rebounds in the first four minutes and getting to the line twice. UNM didn’t continue their hot shooting from their game against Utah State last Thursday; they shot only 3-13 in the first five minutes of the game. It was their good fortune that SDSU shot an even worse 1-10 during the same period. SDSU did a very good job covering the roller in UNM’s pick-and-rolls, and star forward Antonia Anderson had to leave the game after picking up two quick fouls in the first three minutes. UNM managed to score off of the fastbreak over the second five minutes of the first quarter, which helped them finish the quarter ahead 17-14. LaTascya Duff was the most efficient player of the quarter for the Lobos, scoring six points.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team lost in a heartbreaking fashion to their in-state rivals, the New Mexico State University Aggies, 78-76 in an overtime game on Monday at The Pit. The loss comes after the Lobos beat the Aggies in Las Cruces the previous Tuesday. UNM is now 5-4 so far this season. The loss was especially tough for Lobos fans because of the improbable nature of the game-winning shot, which was a body-contorting reverse layup that NMSU guard Nate Pryor was able to get off of a cut. UNM’s Jaelen House, who was guarding Pryor, left him in order to provide his teammate Jamal Mashburn Jr. with help defense.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team defeated New Mexico State University 77-58 at The Pit on Friday, Dec. 3, and won again 73-66 against NMSU in Las Cruces on Sunday, Dec. 5. The Dec. 3 win keeps the Lobos’ home streak alive and both wins now make their record 8-3. In the first game, NMSU let a good opportunity for a win slip away against an at times desultory UNM team that was coming off of a two-week stretch that saw them play five games. The Lobos showed signs of fatigue throughout the game, ultimately ending with 21 turnovers, their most at home this season. UNM’s saving grace was once again their three-point shooting (54.17%).
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team romped Grambling State University 86-50 Tuesday at The Pit. The win came in UNM’s first game back at home after three consecutive days of play at the Van Chancellor Classic. This win makes UNM 6-3 overall and 5-0 in The Pit so far this season. Grambling State was not expected to be a particularly tough opponent for UNM. Both teams beat the University of Louisiana Monroe, but UNM did so by 21 points while Grambling State was only able to best Louisiana Monroe by eight.
On Friday, Nov. 26, the University of New Mexico football squad was defeated 35-10 by Utah State University at University Stadium in the final game of their sad season. The loss sends UNM into the offseason riding a four-game losing streak, while the team finished 1-6 in conference play and 3-9 overall. UNM was forced to start Bryson Carroll at quarterback, though he has previously played mainly as a running back. Running back Aaron Dumas and wide receiver Luke Wysong did not play; both Dumas and Wysong are freshmen who head coach Danny Gonzales pulled out in order to save them for offseason work.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team stayed undefeated at home after narrowly beating Montana State University 81-78 on Saturday at The Pit. The team now stands at 3-1 overall. This season’s leading scorer Jaelen House got in foul trouble early in the first half, restricting his minutes. UNM stayed in control until a 1-3-1 zone defense from Montana State disrupted their offensive flow; zones like that have so far tended to disrupt the UNM guards’ common tendency to count on the cross-court pass to be a pressure release. The second half was intense and, at moments, The Pit crowd began to bellow in one voice, like when a tough call was made on House late in the second half.
The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team beat Grambling State University 86-61 at The Pit on Monday. The win makes UNM 2-1 in their young season. Six Lobos scored in the game, and guards Jamal Mashburn Jr., Jaelen House, Taryn Todd and Javonté Johnson combined for all but 18 of the Lobos’ points. The first half was chaotic and was more amiable towards Grambling State’s style of play, ending with UNM only up by four points at halftime. However, Grambling State is a turnover-prone team, and once UNM turned up the defensive pressure, they were able to force 10 turnovers in the second half. The Lobos scored 29 points off of turnovers total, and House was able to come up with an incredible eight steals.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team beat Northern New Mexico College 96-40 Friday, Nov. 12 at The Pit. Though largely uncompetitive, the game gave UNM a chance to field some of its younger players. Guard Vianè Cumber started for the first time as a Lobo and shot 7-10 from the field, including 3-5 from three. Cumber scored 17 points — the most on the team — and showcased her ability to shoot while moving. Still, after the game, she said she still feels most comfortable catching and shooting stationary. Cumber is the only UNM player from Albuquerque and was eager to start in The Pit. “I was really nervous, but I was really excited,” Cumber said.
The University of New Mexico volleyball team beat San Diego State University 3-0 in their last home match of the season at Johnson Center on Saturday, Nov. 13. The Lobos had suffered three losses in a row prior to Saturday but turned it around against the Aztecs, making their record now 18-9 and 9-7 in conference play. “It was a challenging week for us … We had to go through some adversity,” head coach Jon Newman-Gonchar said. “Every time you go through some adversity you learn who you really are, and what you really value. It was great to see them (work) together (to beat) this very good San Diego State team. I’m just very proud of our group.”
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team won their first official game against Lamar University 71-54 on Tuesday at The Pit. The Lobos led the entire game, but Lamar was able to keep the score close in the first half largely due to two quick fouls on forward Shaiquel McGruder that limited her minutes and uncharacteristically poor shooting from guard Jaedyn De La Cerda, who was 0-7 in the first half. However, both McGruder and De La Cerda came alive in the second half, particularly in the third quarter where they were able to outscore Lamar 18-9 by themselves.
Every junior college transfer has something to prove once they get their chance at a Division I school, but one of the newest additions to the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team already knows that he’s ready to play in front of big crowds at The Pit. Jay Allen-Tovar is one of the newest members of the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team. He transferred over from Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) where he played for two seasons after not having the required grades to go directly to a Division I school. “(I am) super athletic, so you might see me dunk on somebody,” Allen-Tovar said. “And I can shoot threes.
After missing the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of New Mexico Spirit Marching Band is comprised largely of new members since sophomores, along with freshmen, have never had the opportunity to be on the field before. Nonetheless, the band has excelled in their performances at Lobos football games and looks forward to ending their season this month on a high note. The Spirit Marching Band has approximately 90 students, almost half of which are new members, according to Associate Director of Bands Chad Simons. He’s extremely proud of the new group for managing to rebuild with such enthusiasm and care.
Over 14,000 people witnessed the Lobos football team’s devastating 31-17 loss to the previously winless University of Nevada, Las Vegas at University Stadium on Nov. 6. The Rebels’ win ended their 14-game losing streak, which had just become the longest in the nation earlier that day, and handed the Lobos their biggest setback of the season. Led once again by quarterback Isaiah Chavez, starting in place of the still-injured Terry Wilson, the Lobos went 91 yards on 10 plays and scored a touchdown on a one-yard reception by wide receiver Trace Bruckler at the start of the game. Up 0-7, UNM forced a punt by UNLV on their opening possession and looked to extend their lead.