Maluach, Jackson trade court success
Makuach Maluach had a simple response when asked why he and Vance Jackson can’t seem to have a solid game at the same time.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I have no idea.”
Put in layman’s terms, when one of the two University of New Mexico men’s basketball players has a good outing, the other doesn’t. Through the season’s first nine games the pair has reached double figures at the same time just once.
They will play their 10th game Tuesday night in The Pit when North Texas (10-1) comes to town for the third game of a four-game homestand heading into the holidays.
Maluach’s explanation could be as easy as he and Jackson sometimes share the same position; at least, that’s what they did during the Lobos’ Sunday win against Central Arkansas.
Both played the shooting guard/small forward slot in head coach Paul Weir’s offense. It allows for 3-point shooting, drives to the basket and the ability to crash the boards by playing inside.
Maluach flourished in that role Sunday, scoring a season-high 22 points with seven rebounds. Jackson had one point and five rebounds, leaving the game midway through the second half with an undisclosed injury.
It was the kind of outing from Maluach that Weir has been hoping for since, well, long before the season even began.
“He just had some energy to him that I’ve been pleading with forever,” Weir said. “That was really encouraging to kind of see him break forward.”
Weir said there has been added pressure on Maluach and fellow sophomore Vladimir Pinchuk to be more experienced leaders than their actual age. The team is so young that anyone who has been part of the program for a year or more becomes a defacto upperclassman.
It’s not entirely fair and is something Maluach struggled with for seven straight games. He was shooting just 32 percent during that span before hitting 8 of 11 in Sunday’s game.
Heading into two challenging games this week, Weir is going to need that kind of production out of just about everyone on the team. North Texas hasn’t exactly played a murderers’ row of opponents, but the Mean Green was just one of 15 teams in the country to reach double-figure wins by the end of the weekend.
After that is a visit from Penn (9-2), the top team in the Ivy League and a recent winner over defending national champion Villanova.
“A top-100-ish team,” Weir said of North Texas. “We’ve had opportunities these teams so far this year. We’ve won and lost other but his is a game we have to lock in.”
Despite his quiet outing on Sunday, Jackson is still among the team’s leading scorers with 10.9 average. His 7.0 rebounds lead the team. … The Lobos have made at least 10 3-pointers in all but one game, giving them 92 for the season. … Anthony Mathis had never posted a 20-point game until his junior season last year. He did it three times. He has done it another three times in nine games this season.