NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – In a season of getting to know one another, it appears Lobos first-year head coach Richard Pitino and his young basketball squad have arrived on the same page. Last week, Pitino’s team put together their grittiest effort yet. The two games on the road at Colorado State and Wyoming didn’t yield any victories but it told something about the team. “I think you can tell now that there is a buy-in,” said Pitino. “I think certainly maybe that UNLV game woke guys up a little bit. I told them over and over again that nobody is holding you against your will to be here. This is a privilege to play here and either you’re in or you’re out.”

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Lobos, six-foot-nine forward Jay Allen-Tovar scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down six rebounds in a 93-91 loss at Wyoming. He is one who has definitely started to buy in, but that hasn’t always been the case. “I just think his attitude has changed and I’m not trying to throw him under the bus and say he has a bad attitude,” said Pitino. “I love him off the court but there were moments this year where it was just like Jay I’m not enjoying coaching you. Like, you know, it doesn’t seem like you are enjoying playing for me.”

Pitino and Allen-Tovar have worked through that and have made a difference. “As of late, I’ve been taking a lot in from him, listening and being coachable,” said Allen-Tovar. “So, I mean, the last few games it’s showed.”

Pitino agrees. “His attitude has been really, really good and I think he’s playing well because of that,” said Pitino. “A lot of that good attitude provides confidence. Like, he’s shooting that three with confidence where before it may have been I don’t want to miss.”

At 7-11 overall and 0-6 in the Mountain West, the Lobos are still searching for their first league win. They will host Fresno State Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

In other sports news, Albuquerque Public Schools has amended its COVID-19 policy for indoor sports and other events. Spectators were shut out of events last week but will be allowed to return. Only two spectators per student will be allowed at indoor sporting and other events, starting Wednesday.

New Mexico State football will play three power five schools in 2022. The Aggies schedule under first-year head coach Jerry Kill will also have the most home games since 2014 with six.

Former Duke City Gladiators assistant coach and Lobo running back Landrick Brody is the new head football coach at West Mesa high school. Brody said he wants to establish a culture where kids are competing again.

Santa Fe St. Michael’s freshman, Raylee Hunt, is the Gatorade New Mexico Girls Cross Country Player of the Year. The Class 3A state champion is the first from her school.