LAS VEGAS, Nev. — It wasn’t the zone defense this time. And it wasn’t the point guard play.
In the gym where the Lobos seemed to turn their season around one year ago, this year’s UNM men’s basketball team found a new way to fall short on Tuesday night in a season that continues to leave fans frustrated and scratching their heads.
UNLV walk-on guard Nick Blair, a transfer from Idaho who had played in just five games with a season high of nine points, went off for 26 points and the Rebels scored 23 points off turnovers to comfortably beat the Lobos, 74-58, in front of an announced Thomas & Mack Center crowd of 8,432.
“He was terrific,” UNM head coach Paul Weir said. “Obviously going into the game, we know who we wanted to take away as far as No. 24 — (Joel) Ntambwe. I thought we did a pretty good job. We were worried about their guard presser. Blair got loose and took some 3s and made some 3s. And then once he started to make some 3s, we adjusted and at that point he became a really tough matchup for us. He was the best player on the court tonight.”