Lobos move to 11-0, Richard Pitino beats father Rick Pitino for first time

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “The one piece of advice for this team is don’t embrace it – get better. Take what you did wrong and get better,” Iona coach Rick Pitino said.

Gael’s coach Rick Pitino wanted to leave his son – Lobos coach Richard Pitino – some advice after UNM defeated Iona 82-74 Sunday night at The Pit.

The Lobo’s victory keeps them afloat as one of the five teams in the nation who are still undefeated with Lobo guards Jaelen House and KJ Jenkins leading the pack. 

House grabbed 22 points, four rebounds, five assists, and a noteworthy 100% free throw stat after shooting 11-11 from the foul line. Jenkins notched a season-high of 17 points off the bench. He also had a hot shooting night from beyond-the-arc – Jenkins shot 4-7 from three.

For the Lobos, Jenkins played a key role in keeping the momentum going, which is usually coupled by Morris Udeze, Mashburn Jr., House, and Josiah Allick.

Mashburn Jr. also entered the special 1,000 career points club in his Iona matchup. He added 12 points for UNM Sunday night.

With the Pitino versus Pitino headline, a nationally televised TV slot, and the Lobos undefeated record, the scene was set for a wild atmosphere in the Pit that many haven’t seen in years.

“I got to experience the fit for real now so that’s crazy. It’s loud. 14,500 [fans] that’s amazing,” Jenkins said. 

“The energy and there was just, you know, just amazing throughout the entire night,” Lobo guard Mashburn Jr. said.

A total count of 14,534 screaming Lobo fans filled the Pit making a sea of cherry-red. The crowd created an intense envrionment for any opposibng team but the battle between the Gaels and the Lobos was a close one.

And those screaming fans didn’t stop there, especially when the game got close in the last few minutes of the game.

With four minutes left in the game, the score between the Lobos and the Gaels was no longer in double digits. UNM balanced their lead out from being three to sometimes just four points ahead of Iona. 

Big plays came to the forefront as the Lobos were truly tested in the final minutes. Udeze was double teamed under the basket but he found Javobnt Johnson cutting through the lane for an open layup.

House also found himself with a easy fadeaway jumper with moments left. Just enough Lobo plays to hold down the Gaels in this homestand.

Next, UNM faces Prarie View on Tuesday – a team that’s 4-7 right now. With being on such a winning streak right now, playing a team like Prairie View might not look so intimidating, but according to Mashburn Jr. the mindset’s all the same. 

“Regardless of you know, when we go into games, we focus on the other opponent, but really, you know, the only teams that are going to beat us is our team,” Mashburn Jr. said. 

The Lobos face the Panthers on Tuesday night at the Pit with a tip-off time of 7:00 p.m. This will be UNM’s non-conference finale before they open up conference play with a Colorado State matchup at home, Wednesday Dec. 28.