ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Richard Pitino knows his young Lobos can improve in multiple areas. He would really like to see them improve defensively. The Lobos like to play man to man.

“We’re sitting towards the bottom, if not the bottom, of the Mountain West,” said Pitino. “Obviously we haven’t started conference play yet, but we’ve had some brilliant moments offensively, but we haven’t had a lot of brilliant moments defensively. I think the rebounding’s improved but our half-court defense is nowhere near what it needs to look like.”

The 6-5 Lobos struggled defensively in a home loss to the UTEP Miners last Sunday but they plan to be ready for the next challenge. “Next game is SMU,” said UNM guard Saquan Singleton. “You know, that’s a tough team, probably one of the best teams that we’re going to play. I feel like we are going to capitalize off that last game and be ready for the next game.”

The game is on Sunday and the Lobos will try to continue their knack for getting to the free-throw line. Past Pitino teams have been successfully doing that and the Lobos are no exception. They’re currently second in the nation in free throws made with 201 of 266. “I didn’t think we’d be that in year one but we’ve been living at the foul line,” said Pitino. “So, that is a core belief. We want to make more free throws than they attempt. We want to get to the foul line with off the bounce, cutting or whatever. We’ve been pretty good there.”

The Lobos and SMU game starts at 1 p.m. at The Pit.