UNM suffers fourth conference loss in a row

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — The UNM Lobo men’s basketball team suffered their fourth conference loss in a row Tuesday night against Wyoming at The Pit.

The Lobos lost 70-56 in their second game without starting point guard Jaelen House. House is a big piece of the Lobos’ scoring identity and energy for the team and his absence highlights how the team’s mindset has changed.

“Clearly, we’ve lost confidence,” Coach Richard Pitino said. “Certainly not having one of the best guards in the country is affecting our team, that’s obvious, but I think guys are just feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders a little bit.”

Wyoming dominated from beyond the arc after they shot 11-of-29 from deep. These were also tough, contesting shots that the Lobos guarded heavily, but the Cowboys were in full throttle.

Cowboys guard Hunter Maldonado led Wyoming with 20 points and 10 rebounds. 

Jamal Mashburn Jr. tallied up 15 points for the Lobos (19-7,6-7), followed by a double-double from Morris Udeze, who added 12 points and 17 rebounds. 

This still wasn’t enough to stop the Cowboys (8-17, 3-10) from earning their first road game of the year.

“[We are] learning a lot, man. We got to play way harder on defense obviously as well as finding energy within ourselves,” Morris Udeze said.

The Cowboys set the tone early, starting the game on an 11-2 run lead, whereas the Lobos had a hard time executing things offensively to answer back. By halftime, Mashburn Jr. led the team with seven points, with the Lobos behind the Cowboys, 32-25.

The Lobos started to play stronger in the second half but Wyoming kept knocking down big three-pointers, which helped push the momentum in their favor.

One of those moments was at the start of the second half when Wyoming’s Xavier DuSell hit three three-pointers in a row. This forced a Lobo timeout at around the 16-minute mark. 

Not only could the Lobos not find a rhythm on offense, but they saw some foul trouble early in the second half too. 

After a nearly six-minute scoring drought in the second half, freshman Donovan Dent and Mashburn Jr. both had three fouls with nearly 12 minutes left in the game. KJ Jenkins also tallied up four at this point in time, leaving the Lobos short-handed in the backcourt and in a tough position to get anything running. 

The Lobos now sit in sixth place in the Mountain West after this loss to Wyoming, who currently is in last place in the league. 

The UNM Lobos (19-7, 6-7) will take on San Jose State (16-10, 7-6), a team that sits fifth in the conference, at 8:30 p.m. MT Friday in the Bay Area.