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Pretty In Pink

Lobos wear special jerseys in their Valentine's Day victory

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes second dates turn out better than first ones. That’s especially true when the first one was like going on a blind dinner date without enough money to pay the bill.

The Lobos brought all 10 scholarship players for their second date this season with Utah State, and it proved to be the difference. The Lobos’ depth, and some hot shooting from guard Anthony Mathis, led to a grinding 78-63 win on Valentine’s Day at Dreamstyle Arena The Pit. Mathis led four Lobos in double figures with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and a career-high seven 3-pointers. Maluach Makuach added 16 points. Mathis hit a trio of treys within 1:07 span during an 11-0 run in the second half to give the Lobos an 11-point lead, 63-52, they wouldn’t relinquish and help the Lobos snap a two-game losing streak.

The last time these two teams “courted” each other, the Aggies pulled away late from the pesky Lobos for an 89-80 win in Logan.

In that first meeting, the Lobos brought only six scholarship players. Missing were Antino Jackson (suspended for violating team rules), Sam Logwood (injured), Jachai Simmons (death in the family), and Vladimir Pinchuk (concussion). The Lobos used more zone defense as a result.

All four were back for the second affair -- as was UNM’s constant full court press.

The Lobos held a 23-8 advantage in turnovers and 24-9 edge in fast break points as they pushed the pace on both ends of the court.

The fully loaded Lobos cashed in by wearing down the Aggies in a closely fought game that featured six ties and six lead changes. The victory also revived UNM’s momentum for the final stretch of league play.

While Mathis was the star of the show, it took a team of 10 to get the W.

The Lobos bench outscored their counterparts, 33-7, buoyed by the duo of Chris McNeal and Sam Logwood, who each chipped in 10 points. Logwood won the affection of the Valentine’s Day crowd with a pair of late dunks, including a highlight-reel windmill jam on a breakaway that brought the Lobos on the bench to their feet.

UNM’s much-needed victory improved its overall record to 13-14 and 8-6 in the Mountain West, moving up a notch to fifth. More importantly, it kept the Lobos in the hunt for a top-five seed in the MWC Tournament, and first-round bye. UNLV and Fresno State (8-5) remained tied for third after victories on Wednesday. The win also gave UNM a leg up on Utah State in that pursuit as the loss dropped the Aggies to 7-7 in league play and 14-13 overall. The Aggies lost despite a game-high 33 points from Sam Merrill.

AT LAST

The Lobos finally beat a team called the Aggies this season on their fourth try. UNM lost a pair of games to the New Mexico State Aggies and lost its first match up with the Utah State Aggies.

ANTINO AVENGER

Jackson, who apologized to fans on Twitter for missing the loss to Utah State back on Jan. 31 while serving his one-game suspension, had this to say via Twitter after the Lobos victory On Wednesday.

“Good team win tonight, on 2 the next 1,” Jackson tweeted.

STEADY JOE

Also returning to the lineup was center Joe Furstinger, who missed Saturday’s loss to Air Force in their previous game while serving a one-game suspension from the MWC for a postgame incident vs. Boise State. Furstinger led the Lobos with seven rebounds and added four points and two blocks.

RECORD DAY

The Lobos, with their 11 treys, tied a 20-year-old program record for most 3-pointers in a season with 301 set by the 1997-98 team.

THINK PINK

Wednesday’s game was UNM’s scheduled Lobos Love Pink game to raise awareness for breast cancer. The Lobos wore special white and pink jerseys and fans wearing pink or those bringing a stuffed animal could purchase $10 tickets. A stuffed animal toss was held at halftime, and the animals were to be donated to the Albuquerque Police Department for children who have undergone trauma.