The New Mexico Lobos dropped to UAB, 86-73, on Thursday in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational.
The loss drops UNM to 4-2 overall and sets up a third-place matchup with the Towson Tigers on Friday night.
New Mexico had the game tied at 68-68 with 5:16 remaining, before UAB went on an 18-5 run to end the game.
Leading the way for UNM was Jamal Mashburn Jr., scoring a career high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field.
Leading scorer Jaelen House returned to the lineup after missing one game due to an ankle injury. House struggled from the field, going 4-for-15, and ending with just 12 points. House had entered the game averaging 19 points per game.
Saquan Singleton saw his first action of the season for UNM, returning from a heart issue related to his recovery from COVID-19 during the summer. Singleton played 18 minutes and scored eight points in the loss.
For UAB, it was Jordan Walker leading the way with 26 points.
The Lobos had 20 turnovers. Which going into the game looked like was going to be expected due to UAB’s stingy defense.
New Mexico cannot turn the ball over that many times and expect to be in the game let alone win it.
Another glaring stat that is a definite weakness this early in the season is rebounding. New Mexico was outrebounded 41-27 in the game by the Blazers.
In five of the six games so far this season the Lobos have been outrebounded. That has to change if the Lobos want to get close to 20 wins this year or have any success in the Mountain West.
With the turnaround being so close with the third-place game being on Friday, this will serve as the preview for the Towson contest.
The game will be at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time and be broadcasted on Fox Sports 2. The Lobo Sports Radio Network will also have the call over the airwaves.
The Tigers come into the contest with a 3-3 record after losing on Thursday in the other semifinal matchup to San Francisco, 71-61.
Cameron Holden leads the way for the Tigers, averaging 16.7 points per game on the season. Holden had 12 points and nine rebounds against San Francisco on Thursday night.
Terry Nolan Jr. is also a big part of Towson’s offensive production, averaging 13.2 points per game this season. Nolan had 15 points against San Francisco.
Towson is an inside-out type of team, meaning that they love to drive to the basket and see if they can draw fouls. They also love to see if they can toss it out for an open three. More often than not, though, they will see if they can draw fouls and get to the free throw line. They will try that very thing on UNM on Friday night.
With House struggling and the Lobos almost winning on Thursday, I fully expect the Lobos to come out firing and this one should turn into a barnburner. I still like the Lobos to come away with the win in this one. I got Lobos-88 Towson-80.