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Lobos come up short against Utah State

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By The Staff

Despite dressing just seven players, The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team closed a 15-point deficit to just three with one minute left before falling 89-80 on the road at Utah State. Four players saw 34 minutes or more on the floor to tie or set personal-highs for most minutes in a game.

Junior Anthony Mathis paced the Lobos in the near-comeback with a career-high 25 points in his career-high 36 minutes, followed by junior Chris McNeal with 21 points in 36 minutes. McNeal’s 21 points marked his third time this season scoring 20+ points and his most points in a game since he scored 29 in the fourth game of the season against Tennessee Tech.

Senior Joe Furstinger played nearly the entire 40 minutes, tallying six points, nine rebounds, six assists, three blocks and one steal.

Freshman Makuach Maluach was the third Lobo to register double figures, collecting 15 points, while finishing second on the team in rebounds with six.

“Unfortunately we just couldn’t get any stops tonight...I’m disappointed we lost, I felt like we had a chance to win the game. We were not very good mentally tonight,” head coach Paul Weir said. “I don’t know if that was the distractions of guys not being here, I don’t believe it’s fatigue, but maybe it could have been.”

It was a game of stretches in Logan as both teams traded significant runs in the final 10 minutes of the match. Utah State led the majority of the game and built a 15-point lead at the 10:25 mark until a resilient, understaffed UNM squad rallied back, pulling out a 9-0 run that included back-to-back threes from Mathis and junior Troy Simons to make it a six-point game, 70-64, with eight minutes to play.

The Aggies responded with a 9-0 run of their own, increasing the lead back to 15, 79-64 with 5:28 left on the clock.

The Lobos made a mad dash for the win over the ensuing four minutes, going on a 16-4 run that included a trio of Mathis 3-pointers and was capped by a triumphant Simons dunk to make it a three-point game, 83-80, with 1:03 left.

Ultimately, UNM came up just short, though. Late Lobo fouls allowed USU to get to the free throw line and ice the game away, resulting in an 89-80 victory.