Richard Pitino wants Lobos to share the ball against Utah State

Isabel Gonzalez

As New Mexico gets ready to host Utah State, head coach Richard Pitino wants to see some changes in the offense.

In the last four games, the Lobos have shot under 40% from the field. Only two players are constantly scoring in double figures, Jamal Mashburn Jr. (18.3 ppg, 43.7% FG) and Jaelen House (16.7 ppg, 38.2% FG). Even though they average double digits, there are some nights when their shooting percentages leaves a lot to be desired. They take a lot of shots, which Pitino said shouldn’t be needed.

The Lobos (7-7, 0-1 MW) are a guard-heavy team with talented shooters, which means more players are capable of stepping up in the offense. That’s not to say other players have not scored, but the consistency hasn’t always been there. The main issue, Pitino pointed out, is sharing the ball.

“Just gotta pass the ball. It’s that trust,” the coach said. “I’ve never said that I need 50 points between the two of them. That’s not the way I coach. I would like to have five guys in double digit scoring. Jamal and Jaelen have to trust more. I think they are taking high degree of difficulty shots. We gotta get everybody involved.”

Even if Mashburn and House continue taking over the offense, increasing the team’s number of assists should help them take easier shots and therefore increase their shooting percentages. New Mexico has recorded a total of 179 assists in 14 games this season, which is a little under 13 per game. Utah State, the team the Lobos will host on Saturday, has mastered this skill.

The Aggies are second in the nation in total assists with 276. They average 19.7 assists per game, which is third best in the country. Utah State (9-5, 0-1 MW) also has only two players constantly scoring in double digits, but their shooting percentages are high. Justin Bean is averaging 19.8 ppg while shooting at 65.2% from the field. Brandon Horvath averages 13.1 ppg and shoots at 50.8 % FG.

Here are some other notes for Saturday’s game:

Click here for Utah State notes.