The New Mexico Lobos ended their six-game losing streak on Wednesday night, topping the Dixie State Trailblazers by a final of 72-63.
The Lobos were led in scoring by Saquan Singleton with 17 points on the night. Isaiah Marin scored 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench before fouling out, and Makuach Maluach chipped in 12 points.
Both teams struggled hitting shots in the first half. UNM shot 36% from the field in the first half, while Dixie State was at 32%. At one point in the first 20 minutes, the Lobos were down 24-16. New Mexico then used an 11-2 run to take a 27-26 halftime lead.
In the second half it was another run that helped the Lobos keep the Trailblazers at bay. The score was 33-32 in favor of the Lobos with 15:10 to play, when New Mexico went on a 16-1 run to push it to a 49-33 lead with 9:30 to go.
From then on Dixie State got no closer than the final margin of nine, as the Lobos picked up their fourth victory on the season.
The Lobos once again struggled shooting the ball, ending at 42% from the field, hit just two three pointers, and shot 16-of-23 from the free throw line. That kind of shooting has plagued New Mexico all season, and if it continues, it will make for a long Mountain West Conference campaign.
UNM’s defense was really good against the Trailblazers. The Lobos outrebounded Dixie State 50-39, had 11 blocks, and held the Trailblazers leading scorer Cameron Gooden to just two points. That kind of defense was a much better than what had happened during the Lobos six-game losing streak.
Saquan Singleton’s ability to drive to the basket and draw fouls was terrific last night. He drew six fouls during the game and was 7-of-10 from the free throw line. That kind of play is something the Lobos need more of moving forward.
With the win the Lobos are now 4-6 on the season, but still 0-6 in the Mountain West. The win is good in terms of getting confidence back, but much steeper competition awaits.
With Keith McGee opting out of the season, the Lobos roster experience dwindled. Meaning that Wednesday night’s game was good to work out more kinks before returning to MWC play.
UNM will travel to take on UNLV in Las Vegas, with game against the Rebels on Saturday evening and Monday night.
UNLV is 2-6 overall and 0-2 in MWC play. UNLV’s two wins on the season have came against Kansas State and St. Katherine’s of NAIA.
Saturday’s contest will be at 3:30 p.m. MT and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.