Sports Desk: UNM men’s basketball snaps conference losing streak with win over San Jose State

FOX New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Lobo Men’s Basketball ended their eight-game conference losing streak on Thursday afternoon in St. George, Utah. The University of New Mexico hosted San Jose State University on Thursday afternoon and after a solid performance on both ends of the floor, they bettered to 1-8 in Mountain West play with a 67-51 victory.

“It was the first probably happy locker room we have had. Even after the Dixie State win even after the Rice, we have had some wins, and it’s kind of been a really monotonous feeling there, but the guys were happy today. So, I’m really happy for them that they got to smile a little bit and have some enjoyment,” said UNM Head Coach Paul Weir.

UNM slowed down the pace and kept control of the tempo in this game with the Spartans. They only finished with nine turnovers and looked much better playing in transition. Makuach Maluach led the Lobos in this victory, as the lone senior put up a game-high of 25 points and pulled down six rebounds.

“In the other game between UNLV I shot the ball terrible and today I just wanted to come back and just shoot the ball well and just try and, you know not force it, but just play within the offense and I knew everything was going to take care of itself,” said Makuach Maluach.

UNM finished with two scorers in the double figures as Rod Brown also put up 15 points. At the finish, the Lobos pulled down more rebounds than SJSU and they also dominated in the paint, getting 42 points compared to SJSU’s 26.

UNM will play SJSU again on Saturday, that game will start at 12 p.m., airing on the Mountain West Network.

Meanwhile, Lobo Women’s Basketball is back home and is also back to holding full practices at the Pit. UNM has been on the road for almost an entire month before coming home on Tuesday. They were scheduled to play San Jose State on Thursday and Saturday, but those games were canceled after SJSU women’s basketball canceled their season citing COVID-19 concerns.

UNM is currently 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference. They are scheduled to play Fresno State University next week on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Now to New Mexico United news, as The USL Championship announced their 2021 season format and start dates on Thursday. The 2021 regular season will begin to play anywhere between April 24 and May 15, teams will be split into four divisions, and the season will contain a 32-game slate, with playoffs scheduled for November.

“We are so excited to get the 2021 season underway,” said New Mexico United Owner/CEO Peter Trevisani in a news release. “This club is ready to represent our state on the pitch and battle to bring a cup home to New Mexico.”

Due to the public health orders, New Mexico United would not be able to host any matches, but if the number of COVID-19 cases decreases that could change in the coming months. New Mexico United Head Coach Troy Lesesne is excited to get things going, and after a weird season this past year, he is excited to have the potential of playing more teams.

“You know, of course, I want to play El Paso, Colorado Springs, and Real Monarchs again because they are good teams, but for our club and for our fans I hope we get to experience a few other teams in the west and maybe even a few more teams in the other divisions, however, they split it up,” said Lesesne

The USL will make further announcements on scheduling, divisional alignment, and playoff structure in the coming months as they continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic. 

Lastly, Rio Rancho Head Baseball Coach Ron Murphy has garnered a prestigious honor, he’s been named the National Federation High School Coach of the year. “When you win an award like this it’s really not, it’s nothing to do with you because any of us who have been around long enough know that we have never won an award by ourselves. So, to me the exciting part is that this is national attention for our baseball program,” said Murphy.

Murphy has 36 years of coaching experience and 22 years at Rio Rancho. He is happy to earn this honor, but Murphy was also excited on Thursday afternoon because his team was able to hold small workouts at the Rio Rancho Baseball Field.

High school baseball had their season cut short in New Mexico last year, so his players are excited at the potential of playing this season, and Coach Murphy is also excited about the team he has coming in.

“We graduated six last year and five went on to play college baseball. So, we graduated a really good team, but the other half of the team that are coming back are really really good. You know, we have created the model that we never rebuild, we only reload. So you could ask me that question right now and how i feel in the next ten years and the answer is not going to change I feel pretty good about it,” said Murphy.

High school baseball is scheduled to start their season on April 5.

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