San Diego, CA – JJ O'Brien finished with a double-double and San Diego State played excellent defense in dropping the 15th-ranked New Mexico Lobos, 55-34, on Saturday at Viejas Arena.
O'Brien had 12 points along with 10 rebounds for the Aztecs (16-4, 4-2 MWC), who forced 17 turnovers and held the Lobos to just 25 percent (11-of-44) shooting from the field.
"All week we were talking about how right now New Mexico is the best team in the league record wise. That was some motivation to get back in the race and get the win," O'Brien said.
Jamaal Franklin contributed with 10 points and seven boards in San Diego State's second consecutive victory.
In suffering their first conference defeat, the Lobos (17-3, 4-1) had their four-game winning streak snapped. New Mexico failed to score 20 points in either half and finished with its lowest point total of the season.
Kendall Williams was the only scorer for New Mexico in double-figures, posting 14 points in the loss.
"We weren't who we are today. We really got dominated inside, and I thought that would be our strength coming in," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said.
The Aztecs created a nice cushion early and never trailed in the contest, as Xavier Thomas capped a 14-3 San Diego State run with a 3-pointer, putting the hosts ahead, 21-9, just past the midway point in the first half.
Cleveland Thomas's jumper brought the Lobos within 25-19, but New Mexico committed four turnovers and failed to score again over the remaining 4:54 of the first half.
San Diego State took advantage, as the Aztecs scored eight unanswered points to take a 33-19 edge into the break.
Hugh Greenwood opened the second stanza with a triple for New Mexico to bring the deficit to 11, but the Aztecs responded with three straight buckets to push their advantage up to 39-22.
The Lobos, who shot an atrocious 18.2 percent over the final 20 minutes, made just three more shots and never came closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
San Diego State has won four of the last five regular season meetings with New Mexico ... The Aztecs improved to 9-1 at home this season ... New Mexico still leads the all-time series, 40-33, between the schools.