The Lobos are hoping to make the Pit a formidable place to play this season. So far they're off to a good start after beating Houston Baptist 95-79 last night.
Granted, New Mexico has yet to face stiff competition, but they're off to two strong wins and they haven't even played their best basketball yet. In fact, they're winning games while their best player, the Mountain West Conference pre-season player of the year, Elijah Brown, struggles mightily.
Fortunately, New Mexico can count on Tim Williams. Williams had a career night against the Huskies last night, posting 31 points in 33 minutes on 10/11 shooting from the field and 11/12 from the free throw line. That is the definition of efficient. He also chipped in 11 boards. Williams has been as steady as they come during his tenure with the Lobos and the offense looks best when it is run through him.
But it wasn't just Williams on this night. The Lobos jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. By half time they were up 50-31 after shooting a blistering 72% (18/25) from the field in the first half. And though they came back down to earth in the second half, shooting 50%, there was a lot to be happy about.
The bench, led by Jalen Harris (13 points) and Xavier Adams (11 points) scored 38 points. 17 points came off of fast break scores. And of course, with Williams playing in the post, UNM punished the opposition in the paint with 38 points. Other contributors include Sam Logwood (9 points and 6 boards) and point guard Jordan Hunter (9 points). This was a good team win.
If there's one concern, it may be Brown. Sure it's still early in the year, but they're still waiting for the smooth shooting guard to shake off the rust. Against Houston Baptist, he only shot 1/8 from the field. But shooters always shoot their way out of slumps and I have to expect that Brown will do this sooner rather than later.
New Mexico will now turn its attention to Rio Grande rival New Mexico State University. The two square off on Friday at 7 pm mountain time at the Pit.