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New Mexico Lobos

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Arena: The Pit Arena
Coach: Richard Pitino

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New Mexico Lobos

Team Summary

The New Mexico Lobos Men’s Basketball program represents the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is in the NCAA‘s Division I. Wearing the colors are cherry and silver, the team currently competes in the Mountain West Conference, with their current head coach being Rick Pitino. He is in his first season and has a 7-9 record. The Lobos play their home games at University Arena, also known as “The Pit.”

They finished the 2020 season with a 6-16 overall record, were 2-15 in the Mountain West, and finished in eleventh place in the conference. The team lost against Fresno State in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The Lobos entered the Mountain West Conference in the 1999 season after being a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1962-1998. From 1951 to 1961, they were members of the Mountain States Athletic Conference after spending the previous eighteen seasons in the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association. They were an Independent program from their start in 1899 until 1930.

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Team History

New Mexico started playing basketball as a varsity sport in 1899, having no schedule and mainly playing intramural games and competing against local talent. The school created an athletics department in 1920 and began competing against other colleges in the region.

The team started playing in the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1931, which was the first year the conference started. It played games at Johnson Gymnasium beginning in 1957 until the University Arena, known as The Pit, was opened in 1966.

The Lobos became recognized nationally after coach Bob King was hired in 1962 and turned the team into a winning program. The group began to make regular appearances in the NCAA Tournament in the 1990s and has been invited 15 times.

The Lobos have had twenty-two head coaches in their history, with their first head coach being Ralph “Hutch” Hutchinson, who led the team from 1911 to 1917 and had an impressive 32-8 record.

2022 Key Stats

The New Mexico Lobos have a 7-9 overall record in 2022 and are currently eleventh in the Mountain West Conference with a 0-3 mark. Jamal Mashburn Jr. leads the team with 18.5 points per game. Gethro Mucadin leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots with 5.3 and 1.6 per game, respectively.

Jaelen House is second on the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game and leads the team in assists with 4.5 per matchup. The team started the season with a 4-1 record but have lost eight of their last eleven games.

The New Mexico Lobos average 65.3 points per game, ranking tenth in the Mountain West Conference. The team gives up 71.7 points per contest, ranking them eighth in the conference.

Championships Won by the Team

New Mexico has won a total of six conference tournament championships. They were the Western Athletic Tournament champions in 1993 and 1996 and the Mountain West Conference Tournament Champions in 2005, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

They have also won twelve regular-season conference championships, winning the Border regular-season championship in 1944 and 1945, the Western Athletic Conference in 1964,1968, 1969, 1974,1978, and 1994, and the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013.

Important Team Events

The New Mexico Lobos have played in thirty-five postseason tournaments in their history. They have fifteen NCAA Division I Tournament appearances with a combined record of 8-16. The team made it as far as the Sweet Sixteen twice, in 1968 and 1974. Their last invitation was in 2014 when they lost in the first round to Stanford, 58-53.

New Mexico appeared in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) nineteen times and has a combined record of 18-20. They went as far as the quarterfinals eight times.

In 1947, the Lobos were invited to play in the NAIA Basketball Tournament, in which they lost in the first round to Hamline by a 71-49 score.

Top Players

The New Mexico Lobos’ only consensus All-American in their history is Mel Daniels, who was selected to the second team in 1967. The all-time career scoring leader is Charles Smith, who played from 1993 to 1997 and finished with 1,993 points. He averaged 15.8 points per game in his four years at the school.

A total of eighteen players have moved onto the NBA after their careers at New Mexico. One of the most notable players is Michael Cooper, who played his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five championships. Another is Luc Longley, who was selected as the seventh pick in the first round of the 1991 NBA draft. He became a member of the Chicago Bulls from 1996 to 1998 and won three NBA Championships with the team.

Top Coaches

The coach with the highest winning percentage in Lobos history is Steve Alford, who ended his career at New Mexico after the 2013 season. He has a career .749 winning percentage with a 155-52 record in six seasons as head coach.

Alford led the team to four regular-season conference championships and two conference tournament victories. The team also made three NCAA Tournament appearances with Alford as head coach.

The winningest coach in New Mexico history was Dave Bliss, who led the team from 1989 to1999. He won a total of 246 games, and his teams had one regular-season conference championship, two conference tournament championships, and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. He ended with a .695 winning percentage for his career as the Lobos coach.

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New Mexico Lobos Stats FAQs

When holds the Lobos record for most points scored in a game?

Marvin Johnson with 50 points against Colorado State in 1978.

Who was the first head coach for the New Mexico Lobos?

Ralph “Hutch” Hutchinson, who coached from 1911 to 1917.

Who is the all-time leading rebounder for the Lobos?

Kenny Thomas, who has 1032 rebounds for his career.

What’s the last year that the New Mexico Lobos played in the NCAA Tournament?

2014

What’s the official name for The Pit?

University Arena.

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