The New Mexico Lobos men’s basketball team ended the week 2-0 and upped their record to 9-1 on the season with three more games left in the non-conference portion of the season.
UNM took care of Big West Conference favorite UC-Santa Barabara on Wednesday night, 84-61.
The Lobos shot 52% from the field and Donovan Dent led the way with 23 points as the Lobos cruised to the win. Up 55-47 in the second half, the Lobos used a 12-0 run to put the contest away for good.
New Mexico’s swarming defense also led to 19 turnovers by UCSB in the game, which is something that head coach Richard Pitino wanted to focus on this season.
On Saturday night, the Lobos traveled back to Las Vegas, this time for the Jack Jones Classic versus Santa Clara. The Lobos came out firing on all cylinders in that one.
After trailing 4-3, Jemarl Baker Jr. hit a pair of free throws that gave UNM a 5-4 lead, a lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way. New Mexico took home a 93-76 win, to get to 9-1 on the season and 4-0 in Vegas so far.
Dent led five Lobos in double-figures with 22 points, while Baker had 17 points in the win.
Dent has lived up to expectations this season filling in for both Jaelen House earlier and now Jamal Mashburn Jr. His ball control capabilities make the backcourt of UNM very dangerous when healthy.
Speaking of House, even though he struggled in the scoring column in both contests, scoring five points against UCSB and nine points against Santa Clara, it’s his defensive leadership that is leading the way for UNM. House had 10 combined steals in those two games, upping his average to 3.6 in the five games he has played in this season. He had four steals against New Mexico State, whom the Lobos play next.
The Lobos have one game this week, a Friday night visit to Las Cruces for a rematch with New Mexico State. The Lobos defeated the Aggies with ease earlier this season, 106-62. In that game, Jaelen House torched NMSU for 28 points and four steals.
Tip-off Friday night is at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time and will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.