NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The UNM Lobos will head to Christmas break with something head coach Richard Pitino said he really wanted, a victory. The Lobos defeated the Norfolk State Spartans Tuesday night 68-54.
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Jaelen House scored a team-high 16 points in the win. The Lobos stormed out to a 19 point advantage in the first half that was a 16 point cushion at the break. One of the Lobos most athletic players, Emmanuel Kuac was a factor in helping the Lobos get out to a double-digit lead. Kuac scored 11 points and had 9 rebounds for the game.
“It feels good,” said Kuac. “I just got to keep going. I’m an energy type of guy. I feel like every time I come out a hundred percent, it helps the team. It gives the team more motivation to keep going hard.”
Kuac and Jay Allen-Tovar also had 3 blocks each as the Lobos tallied an impressive 9 blocks for the game to only 3 for the Spartans. The Lobos also turned the Spartans over 12 times while only committing six turnovers of their own. The Lobos also won the battle of the boards with 49 rebounds to that of 42 for the Spartans.
“It was finally our first time we had a defensive identity and we were connected and we were bought into doing it,” said head coach Richard Pitino. “We were bought into offensive rebounding.”
All Lobos who played in the game scored while three were in double figures. Jamal Mashburn Jr. is the other Lobo who scored in double figures with 13 points. Joe Bryant led Norfolk State in scoring with 16 points. With the win, the Lobos improved to 7-6 on the season. Norfolk State dropped to 9-4. The Lobos are scheduled to start Mountain West Conference play Tuesday by hosting Colorado State. The Rams dropped their last two non-conference games due to COVID-19 issues in their program. As of this writing, the game against the Lobos is still on.