Lobos take down Bulldogs in home finale, 94-80

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The UNM Lobos capped off their last home game of the season with a win over Fresno State, 94-80.

The 14-point victory came after the University of New Mexico and Lobo fans honored the graduating seniors before the game.

Morris Udeze was the lone senior saying goodbye as he’s in his last season of eligibility. During his last game at The Pit, Udeze led the Lobos with 25 points and nine rebounds – just shy of a double-double.

“I love the fans out here, teammates, everybody,” Udeze said. “It’s just kind of one emotional last home game. All of this is a blessing, to be honest.”

“To have Morris leave here with 25 and 9 is awesome,” Coach Richard Pitino said. “Special kid, so happy he chose here. He’s really helped kind of build a foundation.”

Udeze also leads the Mountain West in rebounds per game, averaging 9.3 and a total of 278 this season. Lobo teammate Josiah Allick is third in the conference, averaging 7.3 per game.

The Lobos started the game on a 4-0 run. Despite the Bulldogs holding Jamal Mashburn Jr. to three points in the first half and shooting 6-of-9 from deep, the Lobos led at the half, 44-38.

The Lobos are no stranger to leading at halftime but have shown struggles with keeping the lead in the second half, which is a focus area that Coach Pitino stressed at the half.

“I wrote on the board, we were up 13 in the second half, well, we were up 13 against San Diego State, we were up Boise State,” Coach Pitino said. “We did a really good job of kind of taking control of the game and just finishing the job.”

Four Lobos scored in double-digits during their Tuesday night victory over the Bulldogs. Right behind Udeze was Jaelen House, who put up 24 points, five assists, and five rebounds. House also put up an alley-oop off the glass for Udeze’s last game in The Pit.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. added 13 points, KJ Jenkins contributed 11 points and Javonte Johnson added 10 of his own.

Johnson shot perfectly during the entire game. He shot 4-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.

“He just makes shots, you know, he’s like a silent assassin. He just works so hard every single day, never complains,” Coach Pitino said.

The Lobos faced different highs and lows throughout the course of the season but they closed their last game at The Pit in a historic fashion. For the first time in five years, Fresno State gave up 90 points under coach Justin Hutson.

The Bulldogs slowed their three-point shooting down in the second half. Things inched closer to just a four-point Lobo lead midway through the second half but a Donovan Dent punch on the basket elevated the Lobos with some energy for the rest of the game.

The Lobos’ win came with some much-needed fun on the court before they hit the road for one more game against Colorado State.

“We knew that as a team in general we needed that boost just to all come together,” Udeze said. “We all needed that just as a conference win in front of the crowd on senior night. It was huge.”

New Mexico (21-9, 8-9) plays its regular-season finale on the road at Colorado State (13-17, 5-12) before they head to the Mountain West Conference tournament next week.