Lobos stay unbeaten, win at Saint Mary's (w/ video) - Albuquerque Journal

Lobos stay unbeaten, win at Saint Mary’s (w/ video)

MORAGA, Calif. — The Lobos had lost 12 consecutive games in the state of California.

Then they recruited Mr. California.

Donovan Dent, the true freshman point guard who was voted that state’s best high school player last season and was one of the gems of the UNM recruiting class, helped close the door on one of the program’s biggest nonconference wins in years in a thrilling 69-65 win over Saint Mary’s at the McKean Pavilion on Wednesday night.

“In timeouts, we were all 100% locked in, high energy, just talking about how we had to pick it up on defense,” said Dent, who finished with 13 points in 25 minutes, including all the clutch ones down the stretch of the road win over the 10½-point favorite Gaels.

The Lobos improve to 7-0 and snapped their dozen-game California losing streak.

The defense-minded Gaels made the game look like a laugher in the opening minutes, jumping out to a 13-2 lead with the Lobos started the game missing 9 of their first 10 shots and Mountain West leading scorer Morris Udeze sitting on the bench five minutes into the game with his second foul.

“They’re going to make yo play that type of game,” Lobos coach Richard Pitino said. “It’s going to be a grind it out, trip to the dentist type of game. And you’ve just got to find a way to make one more big play. …

“We told them you haven’t seen a defense in size and physicality like that this year, so it’s going to be a little alarming at first. What’s been working for us was not working in the first half this game, so we adjusted well. We played out of the post al little bit more. We stopped kind of dribbling in there because they were really good at slapping down.”

UNM never trailed in the second half. That’s not to say the Gaels (6-2) weren’t making a run. They shot 58.3% in the second half.

SMC cut the Lobos lead to one on several occasions down the stretch, but the Lobos, and Dent in particular, answered every time.

Five Lobos scored in double figures and UNM shot 49.0% for the game. They turned the ball over a season-high 17 times, but SMC’s 15 points off those turnovers were negated by UNM’s 16 points off 15 SMCU turnovers.

Udeze scored 11 of his 13 in the second half and House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. each had their big moments, too.

But down the stretch, it was all Dent.

“This is my place. California is my state forever,” Dent said. “I felt right in place here.”

BOX SCORE: New Mexico 69, Saint Mary’s (Cal.) 65

UP NEXT: (D-II) Western New Mexico at UNM, Tuesday, 7 p.m., the Pit

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK: For some extra news, notes, quotes, stats and other odds & ends from Wednesday’s game, including some praise for the two players who kept the Lobos in the game despite an ugly start, read the Emptying the Notebook column.

Home » Sports » Lobos stay unbeaten, win at Saint Mary’s (w/ video)

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