The New Mexico Lobos men’s basketball team wrapped up their non-conference portion of the 2023-24 schedule on Friday night with an 87-54 win over Eastern New Mexico.
New Mexico started slow against the Division II Greyhounds, trailing at one point in the first half by seven, and later on by a 17-14 score with 9:10 left to play in the first half. That’s when Braden Appelhans drained a three-pointer to tie the game. A couple of possessions later, Nelly Junior Jospeh knocked a free throw down to give UNM an 18-17 lead, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the night.
Joseph ended with a double-double for UNM with 13 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Jaelen House led the Lobos in scoring with 22 points on 9-for-20 shooting from the field.
Jamal Mashburn Jr. returned for UNM from injury, scoring 17 points in his first game since November 22nd.
The Lobos did play without leading scorer Donvan Dent, who missed the contest with a quad injury, and Tru Washington who was out with an illness. Both are expected to play in the Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State on Tuesday night.
Speaking of which, it’s time to look ahead following the 12-1 non-conference slate.
Conference Opener Up Next
Why not start 2024 and conference play with a bang. The Lobos will do that when they visit Fort Collins Tuesday night to go up against the 15th ranked Colorado State Rams.
The Rams will enter the contest with a 12-1 record as well, but some more impressive wins on their resume than that of the Lobos.
The Rams have defeated Creighton, Boston College, Colorado, and Washington. While their only loss is to St. Mary’s, the same team that defeated the Lobos back in November.
Colorado State is led by Isaiah Stevens, a name Lobo fans should know. The last time the Rams took on the Lobos, Stevens had 17 points and 13 assists in a 92-84 CSU win. In fact, in four contests against the Lobos, Stevens had scored in double figures in each of those games. He’s averaging 17.3 points per game and 7.3 assists per game this season for the Rams. Without a doubt, how he goes, so do the Rams.
Stevens’ backcourt teammate Nique Clifford adds a great addition for CSU and also is second on the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game. The duo of Stevens and Clifford will look to match House and Mashburn. The key might be Donovan Dent, who adds the third guard to a dangerous backcourt for UNM.
Tip off for a huge, early season MWC matchup is at 8:30 Mountain Time on Tuesday. The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1.