New Mexico struggles continue after loss to Saint Mary's

Isabel Gonzalez

Friday’s game against Saint Mary’s was yet another slow start for the Lobos. And just like in the previous game, New Mexico never quite found a way to recover. The Lobos walked out of Staples Center with an 85-60 loss.
The Gaels got on the board first with a layup by Jordan Hunter. Karim Ezzeddine responded by giving the Lobos two point of their own. However, this 2-2 tie was as close as New Mexico would get to having a lead. as the Gaels went on a 8-0 run that was pretty much a preview of how the rest of the game would go.

By halftime, the Gaels had a 43-29 lead with 53.8 shooting. Things didn’t get any better for the Lobos as they allowed Saint Mary’s to go on a 15-0 run at the start of the second period.
To both head coaches, this was a defining moment.
“That was the ball game right there,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett. “We came out, we jumped on them and we got up to like 30. Had we not, they could’ve gotten back in the game. They have good spurtability.”
UNM head coach Paul Weir said that it felt like a turning point because up until that run, he felt his team still had a chance.
“I thought, obviously not off to a great start, but the first half was still getting played in a pace and in a way that we were ok with.” Weir said. “I didn’t love the game but I thought to myself, ‘we’re around it, we’re hanging in there.’ The first few minutes of that second half unfortunately sealed it.”
When asked if perhaps the Lobos were showing signs of being tired, Weir said that this is something the trainer and strengthening coach have brought up before.
“I think (the players) have to understand the work ethic, the grind, the growing and the getting better,” the coach said. “But if you look at the shooting numbers tonight, it’s definitely warrant to say we looked tired. Three games in seven days, and however many miles it’s been, might have shown up in the shooting percentages for sure.”
New Mexico went from shooting at 38.7 percent in the first half, to 31.4 in the second. Only two shots from beyond the arc actually made it into the basket, neither of them coming from senior Anthony Mathis who two games ago hit seven three-pointers and ended the night with 23 points. On Friday, Mathis only recorded four points total.

Vance Jackson led the Lobos with 12 points, followed by Makuach Maluach with 10. On the Saint Mary’s side, Jordan Ford collected 28 points with 10-15 shooting. The two other Gaels who registered double digits were Malik Fitts with 15 points, and Tommy Kuhse with 10.
Up next, the Lobos return to Albuquerque to host Colorado on Tuesday Dec. 11.