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UNM men have scored 90 or more six times already this season

UNM sophomore Makuach Maluach, seen here against Northern New Mexico, is staying in Albuquerque for the holidays. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

No, 0-10 Houston Baptist isn’t a great litmus test.

After all, the Huskies are allowing teams to score an average — an AVERAGE — of 101.2 points per game, which ranks 353rd out of 353 Division I teams.

But the reality is, the 107 points the Lobos scored on Sunday was the most any Mountain West team has scored this season in a regulation games against a Division I opponent.

It also marks the sixth time UNM has hit 90 or more points scored in a game, five of which have been against Division I teams.

Nevada is the MWC’s next closest team in terms of 90-point games (three) while Boise State scored 126 points against NAIA school Life Pacific on Nov. 5 and Colorado State reached 111 points on Saturday at Tulsa, but did so in a triple overtime game (the Rams had 80 points at the end of regulation).

That the Lobos reached 107 points and scored 61 points in the second half alone with the sudden pre-game removal of two of their more integral parts of their offense was noteworthy, even against the Huskies. Power forward Carlton Bragg and point guard JJ Caldwell were suspended indefinitely before the game for still undisclosed reasons.

“We’ve always felt good about our offense,” UNM head coach Paul Weir said. “We have a very good offensive basketball team statistically, theoretically, practically. It’s our defense that has to get to where it needs to get to to beat a San Diego State, a Utah State, whoever these teams are that are ahead of us. We’ve got to grow defensively.”

UNM’s 80.6 points scored per game is tops in the MWC, while it’s adjusted offensive efficiency ranking in KenPom.com of No. 35 in the nation is one spot below Utah State’s 34th as the two top teams in the MWC.

UNM’s 71.6 points allowed per game is 7th in the 11-team MWC.

IT’S TIME FOR THE FEUD: While some Lobos traveled to their respective homes after Sunday’s game to get in a few days of Christmas vacation with their families, others, like Australian Makuach Maluach, don’t have that sort of time and stayed in Albuquerque.

But don’t worry. He won’t be alone.

Former Lobo Vladimir Pinchuk, who is from Germany and also can’t get home for the holidays, is in Albuquerque for the break and visiting his old Lobos teammate and roommate.

During a 2018-19 preseason podcast interview with the Journal, one Maluach apparently forgot about, Pinchuk admitted having a fondness of watching hours of Family Feud episodes on YouTube.

Asked Sunday if he and Pinchuk, who transferred over the summer to play at the University of San Diego, would spend their Christmas watching the game show online, Maluach looked surprised and asked a reporter, “How did you know about that?”

1K ON THE WAY: JaQuan Lyle’s 19 points in Sunday’s win over Houston Baptist brings him to 994 for his college career — 743 points in his two seasons at Ohio State and 251 points in his 14 games with the Lobos.

Fellow Lobo guard Zane Martin scored 19 points on Sunday and is the next Lobo in line to potentially reach 1,000 points. He now has 942 points — 815 points scored at Towson and 96 points at UNM.

The Lobo closest to reaching 1,000 points all scored at UNM is Maluach, who sits at 785 points scored in his two-plus seasons at UNM.

POLL POSITION: San Diego State remains the only Mountain West team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, checking in at No. 15, up from No. 20 last week. The 12-0 Aztecs had a high vote this week of No. 7 and low vote of 20.

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