Udeze, Lobos set for showdown at Nevada - Albuquerque Journal

Udeze, Lobos set for showdown at Nevada

UNM center Morris Udeze (holding ball) pumps his fist after making the game-winning shot on Friday night in overtime against Boise State at the Pit. The Lobos are on the road Monday night at Nevada. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

On the one hand, after summer workouts and learning about his new UNM teammates, Morris Udeze took a look at the schedule in the preseason and didn’t see a game he felt the team couldn’t win.

On the other hand, while he doesn’t lack at all in confidence — in his game or his new team — the 6-foot-8 fifth-year senior power forward can’t help but admit that the ride so far has been even more than he could have ever expected when he decided to transfer from Wichita State to play for the Lobos for his final season of college basketball.

“I didn’t expect my numbers to be as good as they are,” said Udeze in a recent podcast interview with the Journal. “Playing with really good guards, and Jo’s (Josiah Allick) obviously good. Javonte (Johnson) is good. But I don’t think my numbers were going to be as good. I knew I was gonna be a great rebounder, (but) scoring has kind of gone up since last year. It’s all a blessing.”

But Udeze and the Lobos (18-2, 5-2 Mountain West) don’t have much time to enjoy their fast start to the season, or Friday’s huge home overtime victory over Boise State, a game in which he hit the game-winning bucket with two seconds left in overtime.

Udeze and the Lobos on Monday night are back on the road, playing at Nevada (15-5, 5-2) — one of five Mountain West teams currently sitting in the top 35 of the NCAA’s NET rankings and one of four teams tied for second in the league standings at 5-2. The league leader — 6-1 San Diego State — suffered its lone loss in conference play to the Lobos last weekend in San Diego.

Nevada, and former Lobos head coach Steve Alford, are arguably every bit as much a surprise as the Lobos right now as the Wolf Pack was picked ninth in the preseason league media poll.

But as for the Lobos’ rise back to national prominence for the first time since he was roaming the sidelines in the Pit, Alford acknowledges Udeze was a huge addition to the foundation of elite guards Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Jaelen House from last season.

“Just very explosive,” Alford told Nevada Sports Net of what he sees in this season’s Lobos team. “Obviously House and Mashburn make them go, but I love their complimentary players and the guy they got from Wichita — the big guy from Wichita is a huge piece for them because I don’t think they had that last year.”

Entering Monday’s game, Udeze ranks seventh in the league in scoring (15.7 points per game), first in rebounding (8.5), second in field goal percentage (58.5%) and fourth in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (6.1).

And while he’s quick to tell anyone who asks, or any teammate who might be losing focus, that the team has far more left to accomplish than it already has, he’s not afraid to acknowledge he’s feeling pretty proud about the decision to take a chance on moving to Albuquerque for his final season.

“Zero regrets in this situation I’m in. Zero regrets, man,” Udeze said. “I’m just thankful — thankful for God. Thankful for coach P (Richard Pitino), he put me in a great situation.”

ALFORD ON UNM: While Alford holds a 6-0 record against UNM since coaching at Nevada (2-0 in Reno, 2-0 in Lubbock, 1-0 in the Pit and 1-0 in Las Vegas), he knows his team has its work cut out for it Monday night.

His Wolf Pack team was fairly uncompetitive against San Diego State in a game there Jan. 10, trailing by as many as 22 points. Four days later, the Lobos led almost the entire night and won at San Diego State, 76-67.

“You instantly get the respect of the league when you go into San Diego State and win,” Alford told Nevada Sports Net.

Nevada split this season with Boise State, winning by 2 — as did the Lobos — over the Broncos at home on Dec. 28, but losing this past Tuesday in Idaho, 77-62.

The Wolf Pack has been off since then, having nearly a week to prepare for UNM. The Lobos flew to Reno on Sunday.

PODCAST: Links to listen to the Morris Udeze podcast interview can be found HERE.

GAME TIME: UNM at Nevada, 7 p.m. Monday (6 p.m. PT in Reno), CBS Sports Network, 770 AM/96.3 FM

Home » Sports » Udeze, Lobos set for showdown at Nevada

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Application for camp site for Albuquerque homeless withdrawn; supporters ...
ABQnews Seeker
The organization that sought to house ... The organization that sought to house homeless victims of sex trafficking in tents near the Big I has withdrawn its safe outdoor space application.
Video shows guards walking away during fire that killed ...
ABQnews Seeker
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) -- After ... CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) -- After migrants in northern Mexico placed mattresses against the bars of their detention cell and set them on fire, ...
New Mexico court weighs fight over coal-fired power plant
ABQnews Seeker
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- New Mexico's ... ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- New Mexico's largest electric provider wants the state's highest court to overturn a 2021 decision by regulators who rejected a ...
‘Plant the seed’: High schoolers explore trades at career ...
ABQnews Seeker
High schoolers explored career paths they ... High schoolers explored career paths they may not have considered before at an inaugural fair hosted by APS on Tuesday.
Details emerge in stolen car crash that critically injured ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say a state employee ... Albuquerque police say a state employee left their work vehicle unlocked and running at the fairgrounds Monday morning before it was stolen by a ...
Four years after vetoing NM elected officials pay raise, ...
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has not ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has not yet acted on a bill that would boost the salary levels for all New Mexico statewide elected officials ...
Kyerewaa Abban-Thompson joins Lovelace
ABQnews Seeker
BRIEFCASE: She has worked as a ... BRIEFCASE: She has worked as a nurse for 18 years.
Sweet smell of success: State law now declares an ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico now has an official ... New Mexico now has an official state aroma. But a song will have to wait
Bubblegum and Jeff: Students name fish before releasing endangered ...
ABQnews Seeker
Montessori Elementary students joined ecology experts ... Montessori Elementary students joined ecology experts on Tuesday morning to learn about water use and endangered species through hands-on activities at the Rio Grande ...