Lobo fans stormed the court as New Mexico handed Nevada its first loss of the season in an 85-58 upset on Saturday night at The Pit. New Mexico is now riding a three-game streak and has a 2-0 start in Mountain West play.
The Wolf Pack drops to a 14-1 overall record and 1-1 in the conference while New Mexico improves to an 8-6 overall record.
The Lobos looked different that night, and this isn’t just referring to how they played. They debuted gold “We Are New Mexico” jerseys. The official attendance shows that 12,702 Lobo fans were there to witness it all.
The last time the Wolf Pack played in Albuquerque was during the 2017 season when Nevada achieved a 25-point comeback. But senior Anthony Mathis did not want to think about that game.
“Completely different team, completely different players,” he said. “I didn’t even want to think about that. I thought about that so many times. I’ve seen it on ESPN so many times. It’s way out of my head.”
He was right. Things were very different on Saturday as the Lobos took control early on and did not let go. Nevada was the favorite to win this game, but the Wolf Pack was only on top for one minute and five seconds.
New Mexico’s zone defense, which head coach Paul Weir started only a couple of games ago, helped shake the opponents. Caleb Martin is the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer but he finished the night with only eight points. His struggles showed from the beginning as he missed his first seven field goal attempts.
The Wolf Pack finished the night with 33.3 percent shooting from the field and only made four three-pointers. This, combined with a 59.3 free throw percentage and 14 turnovers, was an easy path to a blowout loss.
Timeout (3:57): Dane Kuiper with the steal and a layup. New Mexico leads 30-18. Kuiper leads all scorers with 9pts pic.twitter.com/MZoB2iAR7h— The Lair New Mexico (@thelairnm) January 6, 2019
Jordan Caroline was the only Nevada player who saw double digits at 17 points. Meanwhile, the Lobos had three. Mathis led all scorers with a career-high 27 points, redshirt sophomore Vance Jackson got a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Makuach Maluach registered 14 points.
When it came to team hustle, Weir was quite pleased with what he saw.
“It was the best of the season,” the coach said. “I don’t know where it came from. I have talked about fighting and competing all year. I am really happy that the guys were able to see the fruits of their labor.”
The Lobos were excited after the final buzzer went off and celebrated with fans who rushed into the court. The players continued their celebration and surprised their coach when he walked in the locker room.
Up next, New Mexico stays at home to host the UNLV Rebels on Tuesday before hitting the road to play Colorado State on Saturday.