Las Cruces, NM – Round two of the home-and-home series between New Mexico State and the 16th-ranked New Mexico Lobos is on the schedule for Wednesday night at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.
Over the weekend, the Lobos entertained NMSU in Albuquerque and instead of being a generous host, UNM delivered a convincing 73-58 victory over its in- state rival. The win kept New Mexico's record unblemished after 11 games, one of only a handful of programs still without a loss on the campaign heading into this week.
As for the Aggies, the setback was the fourth in five true road games for the group and dropped them to just 5-5 overall. The lone win for the team away from the Pan American Center came just over two weeks ago at South Alabama, 58-52.
With the win on Saturday at home, New Mexico now owns a 114-95 advantage in the all-time series. Last season, the teams split their two encounters, with each winning on the road.
Against the Aggies just days ago, New Mexico fell behind for just a brief moment in the first half, but then took control by holding the visitors to 32.8 percent shooting from the floor and 4-of-16 beyond the arc. Offensively, the Lobos had four starters score in double figures, beginning with Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams with 15 points apiece, the latter adding eight rebounds and seven assists to his line. Chad Adams registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Tony Snell checked in with 10 points and four dishes for the hosts as they outscored NMSU at the free-throw line, 26-16, and knocked down 7-of-13 beyond the arc. Free-throw shooting has been a huge factor in the Lobos staying undefeated as they've outscored the competition by 123 at the charity stripe over 11 games. Of the teams that entered this week undefeated, UNM is the only one that has allowed more field goals (245) than it has made (242) and that's all because the team has feasted at the line. Williams (13.4 ppg) is a perfect example of that with his 57-of-69 shooting at the stripe.
New Mexico State's defense just wasn't up to the task of taking on the Lobos on the road this past weekend, allowing UNM to pick and choose how it would dismiss the Aggies. The offense for NMSU wasn't anything to write home about either as the group converted just 4-of-16 shots from 3-point range and had just a single player in double figures as Daniel Mullings tallied 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor. Unfortunately, the other four starters for the program combined to shoot only 8-of-33 from the field. Tyrone Watson came up with a game-high 11 rebounds, but at the same time he missed all five of his field goal chances which meant he was a liability at the offensive end of the floor. Mullings remains the top scorer for the program with 13.9 ppg, shooting an impressive 53.3 percent from the floor, while Watson accounts for 10.7 ppg even after his disappointing showing on Saturday. Between the pair they are bringing down more than 11 rpg and that has helped give the squad a rebounding edge of 8.2 per game over the competition.