Richard Pitino, New Mexico beat Rick Pitino and Iona 82-74

Dec 18, 2022, 4:54 AM | Updated: 6:55 pm
FILE - Iona head coach Rick Pitino gestures as his team plays against Alabama in the first half of ...

FILE - Iona head coach Rick Pitino gestures as his team plays against Alabama in the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Indianapolis, March 20, 2021. University of New Mexico coach Richard Pitino says the upcoming matchup Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, against Iona is business as usual for the unbeaten Lobos. He still acknowledges the game is getting added exposure because it pits him against his father, Rick. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It was a very public two-hour, father-son bonding experience between New Mexico coach Richard Pitino and his dad, noted coach Rick Pitino of Iona, on Sunday.

And in the end, the son prevailed 82-74 as the Lobos (11-0) got 22 points from Jaelen House and 17 from K.J. Jenkins. The Gaels were led by 22 from post Nelly Joseph.

“I’m just really happy for him, 11-0,” Rick Pitino said. “This is a rebuilding job and he’s done it in one year. I’m just beaming with pride with what he’s accomplishing. I’m disappointed in my team but I’m so happy for him.”

The younger Pitino tried to downplay the relationship factor.

“I said all week, it’s not about me and it wasn’t about me, especially with the nonconference that we had,” he said. “It’s not about beating my dad. I’m grateful that my dad played here because we benefitted. That was a nationally televised game he did not need to play. Happy we won, but I don’t look at like I beat him. I look at it as New Mexico beat Iona.”

After Iona (7-3) scored the opening bucket, New Mexico led the remainder of the way, building a 17-point, first-half lead.

But Rick Pitino, who has national championships from his days at both Louisville and Kentucky, found a few tricks to get his squad back in the game, closing to within 76-73 with just over two minutes left.

“Our zone was giving them problems,” he said of a defense that he hasn’t broken out in three seasons. “And we started attacking the rim and we got some easy buckets.”

But it was not enough to coax the Gaels to a win, although Richard Pitino said he anticipated seeing some zone.

“I would say being his son, I knew he would play some zone because he hasn’t played any,” he said. “Working for him, he always has a zone in his back pocket.”

It was a contrast in styles on the court and on the bench as the younger Pitino sported comfortable attire and gym shoes, while his dad wore a sports coat, slacks and a dress shoes.

The Lobos also preferred a fast-paced attacking style compared to the more deliberate, get it inside look from Iona.

First-half runs of 14-2 and 8-0 helped New Mexico build a 37-20 lead at the 3:21 mark before Iona nibbled into the lead, cutting it to 41-33. But K.J. Jenkins hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, his third of the half, to give the Lobos a 44-33 halftime advantage.


This was the third meeting between father and son Pitino. The other two coming when dad coached Louisville and his son was at Minnesota, with the Cardinals winning previous games. The teams will play again next year at Iona.


Asked who was buying the postgame meal, Richard Pitino said, “I don’t know if he wants to go to dinner tonight. I’m supposed to take him to dinner. You have to give him a little grace period because he’s not great right away after games. But we’ll get together.”

Although unsolicited , Rick Pitino had some advice for his son and the Lobos, saying, “Richard knows how to handle it but the one piece of advice for this team, don’t embrace it. Get better. Take what you did wrong and get better. Because as quickly as you get to climbing that mountain, you get knocked right off it.”


More AP college basketball: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
22 hours ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
22 hours ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
22 hours ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
22 hours ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
22 hours ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
22 hours ago
Richard Pitino, New Mexico beat Rick Pitino and Iona 82-74