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Jan 27, 2024 3:52 pm

No. 25 New Mexico ‘locked in’ ahead of Nevada visit

No. 25 New Mexico enters its game Sunday with Nevada at Albuquerque, N.M., on a four-game winning streak, while the Wolf Pack ended a three-game losing streak by beating No. 24 Colorado State on Wednesday.

All five of New Mexico’s starters scored in double figures, led by Jaelen House’s 18 points, in a 95-75 win at San Jose State on Wednesday.

JT Toppin had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, tying the New Mexico freshman season record.

He also tied a career-high with five blocks.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. added 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, Donovan Dent had 17 points and six assists and Nelly Junior Joseph finished with 10 points for the Lobos (17-3, 4-2 Mountain West).

“Nobody has done this to them in the conference; all of their games have been really, really close,” New Mexico coach Richard Pitino said of San Jose State, which has three losses in the Mountain West by three points or fewer.

“Our guys were locked in and played with great energy and spirit. Over the 40 minutes, we just exploded offensively at times.”

Nevada (16-4, 3-3) ended its three-game losing streak Wednesday by beating Colorado State 77-64 in Reno behind Jarod Lucas’ 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field.

“We knew that we needed it,” Lucas said. “We almost felt that our couple days of practice this week were probably the best we’ve had with a lot of energy and urgency.

“Of course, losing three games in a row isn’t easy, but being 16-4 at this point in the season is not a bad start. It’s a great bounce-back win for us.”

The 28 points scored by the fifth-year senior was his second-highest scoring output this season, and his 10 made field goals marked a season high.

Kenan Blackshear scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, including scoring 16 points in the second half on 7-of-8 shooting. He also had five assists, five rebounds and two steals.

The Wolf Pack shot 53.7 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and recorded 19 assists on 29 made field goals.

The last two losses of their three-game losing streak were on the road, including at then-No. 24 San Diego State on Jan. 17.

“If you look at the Mountain West, this is the premier conference on the West Coast,” Lucas said. “Night in and night out, you know you’re going to have a battle. We knew we had a Top 25 team coming in and we were going to have to take care of business.”

New Mexico has won four straight conference games by double figures, the longest streak since a seven-game streak in 2011-12.

The Lobos also won consecutive Mountain West road games for the first time since a three-game stretch from the end of the 2017-18 season and the start of the 2018-19 season.

“We’ll just play our style and prepare for it like any other game,” Dent said of matching up with Nevada. “We’re making shots from the outside, so they can’t pack it in. We like playing (at a) fast pace and speed them up on defense.”

– Field Level Media

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