The New Mexico Lobos basketball team got their season off to a fast start, beating Rice 72-61 on Sunday in Houston.
New Mexico was led by Makuach Malauach, who ended up with 23 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.
Rod Brown added 11 points, while Bayron Matos chipped in 10 points. Both Brown and Matos were making their Lobo debuts on Sunday.
The Lobos defense was stout in this one, holding Rice to 34% shooting from the field. Just two Owls scored in double figures, while the Lobos outrebounded Rice 49 to 25.
Maluach is going to be a handful for opponents this season. That should come as no surprise as he is the leader of this UNM team. His 23 points were a game high, as were his 12 rebounds. He played really smart too, committing just one personal foul and turning the ball over just twice.
There were a couple causes for concern for the Lobos. One is the fact that they had 15 turnovers. The other was the amount of missed layups in the game, but that didn’t seem to hurt them in the end.
The high turnover amount has been almost like a staple of Lobo teams under Paul Weir. UNM struggled with turnovers in many games last season, and that cost them many wins.
On Saturday, the Lobos added another out of conference game to their schedule, as they will now take on NAIA team Our Lady of the Lake on Tuesday. That contest will also be held at Rice’s home arena in Houston. Our Lady of the Lake sits at 1-1 on the season with a loss to Incarnate Word, but a win over Texas State that came on December 12th.