The Lobos welcomed the University of Utah Running Utes into the Pit for the last time as a conference opponent. Utah comes in limping a little bit with a one win in their last 6 games. Utah has won 37% of their games in the Pit, which makes them one of the best at coming into the Pit and leaving with a win.
That is not expected tonight. Utah hasn't won in the Pit since 2002.
UNM wins the tip with Drew Gordon
out jumping the taller Greg Foster. Foster returned the favor by
Phillip McDonald started the scoring with one point when he was fouled going up for a slam dunk. The Lobos have started with more intensity than the Utes, diving for loose balls and
Gordon making a monster alley oop from Kendal Williams keeps the Pit's intensity going. A Ute three ties the game, despite the Lobos intensity; they are not making their shots and are allowing Utah to hang around.
At the first media timeout, Drew Gordon is leading the Lobos in scoring and rebounding, with 6 of the Lobos first 7 points. Each shot made was off an assist by either Dairese Gary or Kendall Williams. He also has 5 offensive rebounds and UNM has 7 to Utah's 2.
At the second media timeout, the Lobos lead 13-12 and have not been able to pull away from the Utes. They had two turnovers and are not making their shots shooting only 5-16 at the 10:40 point in the half. They are still out rebounding the Utes 13-6. They have maintained one assist per shot.
Coming out of the timeout, the Lobos turn the ball over and don't make their shots when they have them, allowing the Utes to get a lead. A Dairese Gary foul led to a technical foul on Coach Alford who was trying to get the referee's attention. Utah is unable to capitalize on the foul making only 1 of 2 and not scoring after retaining possession.
The third media timeout now has the
Utes out shooting the Lobos 7-16 to 6-19. The Lobos have increased
rebound lead despite the Ute's size. At the 6:24 mark the Utes are
trying to inbound
the ball, but everyone except the passer run to the other end of the
causing Utah to take a time out.
The Lobos are maintaining their intensity throughout the first half. They are getting the loose balls, the offensive rebounds but are not getting the shots to fall in. They lead 21-19 at the 4:16 mark and really look to be outplaying the Utes. However, the Lobos managed to fall asleep on a missed Ute shot allowing Utah to get their third offensive rebound and that turns into a three point shot to take the Lead 22-19 into the final media timeout of the first half.
The Lobos are being out shot 9-7 but the Lobos are making up the difference at the free throw line making 6-7 shots. At this point, Drew Gordon is still the only Lobo with more than one made shot going 4-11 with the rest of the Lobos shooting 3-13. Dairese Gary is doing it at the line though shooting 4-4.
The Half-time score has the Lobos leading 33-31. The Lobos have earned the lead at the free throw line making 13-15 free throws. They have earned it rebounding, leading Utah 23-14 and 9-4 on offensive rebounds. They have it because Drew Gordon has a double double with 11 points and 13 rebounds (one less than the entire Utah team) with 7 offensive rebounds, (the Utes have 4). The Lobos lead because Dairese Gary is the leading scorer with 14 points, 8-8 at the line and 2-3 for 3 pointers. As a team the Lobos have made 9 shots and have 9 assists. The Lobos are leading despite being out shot 40% to 32.1%.
The Lobos will need to continue the effort but need to make their shots. They are on pace for their worst shooting game of the season. For the Utes', their leading scorer is not playing due to injury, so they have to be happy that they are keeping the score so close. They will probably need to continue shooting 50% on their three point shots if they want to stay in the game.
The Lobos will have the ball first for the second half. Tony Snell started the scoring in the second half dunking off of an assist from Phillip McDonald. The Lobos kept it going from there scoring the next four points for a 39-31 lead. PMAC got two free throws and Williams made nice driving lay-up for the first Lobos shot not off an assist.
A PMAC dunk off a Kendall Williams' missed lay-up brings the Pit crowd to its feet as the Lobos get their first 10 point lead. At the first media timeout, the Lobos are shooting 50% 4-8 while Utah is only 1-6 and have out rebounded the Utes 6-3. In a surprising but funny moment, Lobo Louie is telling a fan to put down his phone and watch the game.
The Lobos come out of the timeout and continue to attack the basket. This half it is the Lobo team that is scoring on the Utes, Williams, Snell and McDonald have already scored more in the second half than the first. Going into the next timeout Gordon continues his stellar rebounding, making a save while going out of bounds, throws it off a Ute player, then jumps over the ball as it bounces right back to him hurtling the ball for a Lobo possession.
At the media timeout, the Lobos are now out shooting the Utes 35.9%
Unfortunately, the Lobos don't seem to be able to score when Gordon is out. When he sat the Lobos were up by 10 points. The Utes then scored six straight to be down four when Gordon returns. The Utes hit one more three to be down one before Gordon scored to keep the Lobos in front, but it was part of a 13-1 run by the Utes to get back in the game. After another make by Utah the score was 49-48 with a free throw coming when the teams were going into the next media timeout.
In the four minutes between timeouts, the Utes shot 4-4 to UNM's 1-7
getting even at 49 with a chance to take the lead. But a missed Ute
shot and a
Gary three wakes up the crowd.
The Lobos aggression and drives to the basket are getting the Utes in foul trouble, with the third Ute picking up their fourth foul at the 5:40 mark.
The Lobos call timeout at 3.45 with a one point lead. It is time for a Lobo to take the lead. Dairese Gary appears to want the job. Driving for a lay-up to extend the Lobos lead to 3. A Tony Snell block gives the Lobos another chance to extend their lead, but they can't do it. Gary makes another two point shot, in all he is accounting for the Lobos last six points through two shots and one assist.
With 40.8 seconds left can the Lobos maintain their lead three point lead? Well, after the Utes made a two point shot, Phillip McDonald is fouled but misses the front end of a one and one. It looked like the Lobos would be safe with time running out and the Ute player mishandling the ball out beyond the three point line, but he maintains the dribble and puts up a three point prayer that was answered off the glass. The Lobos lose with the final score 62-60.
The Lobos now fall to 5-7 on the conference season and 17-10 overall. The Utes improve to 5-8 and go home winners of their last Pit conference game.
The Lobos now have their worst shooting game of the season at 35.8%. The Lobos played both well enough to win the game, but poorly enough to lose the game. Despite the low scoring game and the low shooting percentage for the Utes, the Lobos were not able to get it done on the defensive end. There were a number of missed assignments leading to a number of three pointers throughout the day.
The Lobos will next be in action against the UNLV Running Rebels on Wednesday February 23rd at 7:00 PM MST.