Trailing by 21 points early in the first half against the undefeated University of New Mexico Lobos, the UTSA Roadrunners battled from behind and gradually scratched their way back into contention. At one point after intermission, UTSA surprisingly pulled to within six.
But the Lobos, playing at home at the Super Pit in Albuquerque, didn’t flinch at the challenge and eventually rolled to a 94-76 victory in a men’s college basketball contest played before an announced crowd of 10,049.
“There were a lot of things in this game that were not good,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. “But there were a few stretches where it encourages us, that we’re headed in the right direction in certain areas. This is the best team we’ve played. These guys are really good, and (it’s a) good environment.”
Coming in to the game, the Roadrunners knew they would need to deal with the Lobos’ top players in forwards Morris Udeze and Josiah Allick and guards Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. Regardless, all four played well.
Udeze had 24 points and eight rebounds, while Allick chipped in with 13 points, six boards and three blocks. House scored 21 points and hit four of five three-point shots. Mashburn had 18 points, including 13 of them in the second half to keep UTSA at bay.
For UTSA, D.J. Richards poured in 20 points in a career-high showing for the 6-foot-5 freshman guard, who has established himself as one of the team’s most reliable players through the first nine games.
Going up against an elite backcourt, Richards hit four of eight from the field, four of six from three and eight of nine at the line.
The Houston native from Cypress Creek High School continues to impress as a perimeter threat, having hit at least one shot from beyond the arc in all nine games and more than one on five occasions.
New Mexico did a much better job against some of UTSA’s more experienced players. For instance, center Jacob Germany had a string of two-straight double-doubles snapped, as he was held to eight points (on three of seven shooting) and seven rebounds.
The starting backcourt of Japhet Medor and John Buggs combined for 17 points, though they did have nine assists between them.
Medor, who had six points and five assists and fouled out in 19 minutes, finished three for seven from the field and did not get to the free-throw line. Buggs hit a couple of threes and scored 11, but he was three for 10 overall.
New Mexico 9-0
“Really proud of Massal. He impacted the game in a positive way.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast, commenting on the play of 6-foot-9, 240-pound freshman Massal Diouf from The Netherlands. Diouf had three points and four rebounds and fouled out in 12 minutes.
UTSA plays next at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.