A historic performance on Sunday made for quite the Monday for the UNM Lobos.
Graduate transfer forward Morris Udeze, who on Sunday became just the fourth Lobo player to ever post a 33-point, 14-rebound game in the team’s lopsided 98-74 win over Northern Colorado in the Pit, was named Monday the Mountain West Player of the Week, his first such honor as a Lobo and the first the program has earned since Carlton Bragg was named Player of the Week on Dec. 16, 2019.
And the Lobos, who are off to a 6-0 start for the 15th time in the program’s 119-season history and are one of just 18 undefeated teams remaining out of 363 Division I programs, got a nugget of good news as a team, too.
Monday morning’s release of the new Associated Press Top 25 poll included the Lobos in the “others receiving votes” section of the poll. One of the 63 AP voters — Rick Bozich of WDRB-TV in Louisville, Kentucky — placed the Lobos at No. 25 on his ballot, giving UNM one point in the poll.
It’s the first time UNM has received a vote in the AP Top 25 since Nov. 18, 2019, when one voter had the Lobos ranked No. 24 on his ballot, giving the team two points.
The last time the Lobos were actually ranked in the AP Top 25 was at the end of the 2013-14 season when they were No. 17 heading into the NCAA Tournament.
The “receiving votes” Lobos next take on Saint Mary’s on Wednesday in Moraga, California. The Gaels (6-1) were receiving votes themselves in last week’s AP poll, but were not in Monday’s poll after losing an overtime game to Washington on Thursday.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Udeze’s Sunday performance capped a fantastic three-day tournament for the 6-foot-8 transfer from Wichita State in the weekend’s Lobo Classic, earning him unanimous MVP honors in the event and Monday’s conference honor.
For the three games, his averages were:
• 22.3 points per game
• 7.3 rebounds per game
• 24-36 FGs (66.7%)
• 19-21 FTs (90.5%)
He now leads the Mountain West in scoring (19.5 points per game) and field goal percentage (61.6%). And Sunday’s 33-point/14-rebound game, which also happened to be accompanied by a 13-for-13 showing at the free throw line, is one of the most dominant statistical games in program history. He joins three other Lobos who have accomplished the feat.
Here is the entire list of 33-point, 14-rebound games in UNM history:
• Morris Udeze — 33 points, 14 rebounds vs. Northern Colorado (Sunday)
• Ruben Douglas — 39 points, 14 rebounds vs. Utah (March 1, 2003)
• Kenny Page — 47 points, 15 rebounds vs. Illinois Tech (Dec. 21, 1979)
• Willie Long — 34 points, 19 rebounds at Texas Tech (Dec. 14, 1970)
• Willie Long — 41 points, 16 rebounds at BYU (Jan. 29, 1970)
• Willie Long — 34 points, 15 rebounds vs. Arizona (Jan. 17, 1970)
As for that can’t-miss free throw showing, it even surprised Udeze, who was shooting 53.8% from the line this season before Sunday and shot 63.2% over the past four seasons at Wichita State.
“Um, no, I didn’t (see that coming). I ain’t going to lie. I didn’t,” said Udeze of the free throws. “But, I mean, I’ve been working on my free throws every day. Just trying to go 46-of-50 — just trying to just keep on shooting ’em, really. It’s really a blessing, man.”
It was the seventh most free throws made in a game without a miss in UNM history:
• 16-16 — Kendal Williams vs. San Diego (Nov. 30, 2013)
• 15-15 — Elijah Brown vs. Nevada (Dec. 30, 2015)
• 15-15 — Ruben Douglas vs. UNLV, overtime (Feb. 5, 2002)
• 15-15 — Willie Long at UTEP (Feb. 20, 1971)
• 14-14 — Elijah Brown vs. Fresno State (Dec. 28, 2016)
• 14-14 — Ruben Douglas vs. Northwestern State (Nov. 25, 2002)
• 13-13 — Morris Udeze vs. Northern Colorado (Sunday)