ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Paul Weir era at the University of New Mexico came to an end Wednesday in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament. Weir’s Lobos lost to Fresno State 85-77. Before they took their final loss of the season, the Lobos operating with a small lineup put up a fight.
“You know, we were just playing for our coaches and our teammates and obviously our program,” said Lobos senior Makuach Maluach. “We’re not going to quit and we have some guys that are competitive and we have pride too. A lot of people didn’t give us a chance and we just said it’s tough and we’re going to go out there and give it everything we got.”
The Lobos only had eight scholarship players available for the game. Maluach scored 16 points and pulled down four rebounds and what could be his last game in a Lobos uniform. When pressed on whether he would use the extra year of eligibility, given by the NCAA due to COVID-19, Maluach said he couldn’t comment yet, maybe in a couple of days. He also said he thought the future would be bright in New Mexico.
If the way the young Lobos played in their final game of the season is any indication, you would have to agree. North Carolina sophomore transfer Jeremiah Francis finally found the hot hand that eluded him most of the season and scored a team-high 19 points on six of eight shooting. He was a perfect 4 for 4 from the three-point line. Freshmen Isaiah Marin and Javonte Johnson scored 13 and 10 points respectively. Deon Stroud led the Bulldogs attack with 19 points. Orlando Robinson had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. With the win, Fresno State advanced to the Mountain West quarterfinals.