NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Head Coach Paul Weir and his Lobo men’s basketball team walked off the court in St. George, Utah Thursday night feeling blessed after a 72-63 victory over the Dixie State Trailblazers that ended a six-game skid for the Lobos. The season hasn’t been easy for a team that has lived out of a suitcase for all of it.
The Lobos set up shop in Texas for most of the season, from Levelland to Houston and Lubbock, they carried their belongings, looking for gyms to practice in and host games. New Mexico health orders have not allowed the team to practice or host a live event. The Lobos recently got a break, coming home for a few days before heading back out.
“The three days we spent at home were really key,” said Lobos guard and forward Makuach Maluach. “Just to reset and, you know, get back to work.” Senior guard Keith McGee didn’t make the trip. In fact, he opted out of the season, concerned about his mental and physical health due to the changes caused by COVID. “It’s just about, right now, what’s best for his mental well being,” said Weir.
McGee plans to continue working towards getting his college degree. The Lobos will continue trying to push through as they resume Mountain West Conference play with a two-game series against UNLV starting Saturday. The 4-6 Lobos are hosting at Dixie State in St. George, Utah. The Lobos are still a work in progress. “I’m not perfect as a coach,” said Weir. “We just have to keep evolving as a team, keep looking at the data that we have, not only quantitatively but qualitatively, keep wrestling with this lineup and our style and our play. You know, we’re doing some different things and just trying to find that sweet spot.”
Meanwhile, the Lobo women’s basketball team remains a perfect 5-0 and continues to lead the nation in scoring offense at over 95 points per game. The Lobos are also third in the nation in three-point buckets. Ahlise Hurst leads the team. She has more than just a three-point shot for opponents this season. “She works on her game all the time,” said Head Coach Mike Bradbury. “She’s gotten a little bit better each year offensively. When she first got here, the only thing she could do is shoot, you know. She got a little bit better last year, being able to put it on the floor. Now it’s about a 50-50 thing with her.”
The Lobos will start a two games series with UNLV Friday at 3:30 p.m.; Game two is Saturday.
The Western Athletic Conference is expanding to five institutions. All of New Mexico State Sports play under the WAC banner except football. Football for the Aggies will remain independent, competing on the FBS level. Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, Southern Utah University, and Stephen F. Austin State University will help the league bring football back. Those schools will compete on the FCS level in football. As a whole, the conference will 13 schools competing in other sports.
Lastly, New Mexico MMA fighter Carlos Condit returns to the octagon Saturday in a UFC card on Fight Island. Condit is facing Matt Brown in a welterweight battle that will be the co-main event to Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar.