Aztecs shred Lobos’ defense in third straight loss

January 16, 2019

The Lobos’ dismal defense reared its ugly head once again.

The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team dropped its third straight game in Mountain West Conference play, getting blown out 97-77 on the road Tuesday night in Viejas Arena by San Diego State. The Aztecs (10-7, 2-2) shredded the UNM zone, converting 55 percent of their shots and hitting 10 3-pointers in a game that they never trailed.

SDSU’s 97 points were one shy of setting a school record in a Mountain West game.

For the Lobos (8-9, 2-3), it was just more of the same old, same old.

They spotted the Aztecs an early 11 point lead before rallying to tie it late in the first half. That was as good as it got as SDSU’s Aguek Arop hit a three-quarters court shot at the halftime buzzer to open a 44-39 lead.

Carlton Bragg started the second half for UNM with a bucket on the team’s first possession, but the Lobos’ zone gave up three 3-pointers in less than three minutes to Aztecs guard Devin Watson. Left alone each time, he shook off a slow first half to finish with 21 points — 17 of them coming after halftime.

Jalen McDaniels dumped in a game-high 24 points for San Diego State. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and largely had his way in the low post from start to finish.

UNM got 21 points from Anthony Mathis. The senior guard hit six 3-pointers, leading four Lobos in double figures. Vance Jackson had 16 points and a team-high six rebounds as he continued to play well as of late.

Carlton Bragg added 12 points, but he only had four rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Dane Kuiper chipped in with 11 points, but the Lobos were clearly hurt by the poor shooting of players like Makuach Maluach (0-for-8) and limited production from their bench.

The New Mexico subs combined for just 17 points and eight rebounds, taking just four 3-point shots between them.

The Lobos forced only 13 turnovers while coughing it up 17 times on their own, continuing a trend of shaky play from the guards. As a unit the Lobos had just 17 assists to SDSU’s 30.

They were also outrebounded 38-25 and outscored a staggering 50-16 in the low post.

New Mexico still has not won a game since upsetting then-No. 6 Nevada nearly two weeks ago.

The team returns to The Pit on Saturday afternoon to face the MWC’s last place team, Wyoming.

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