Tuesday night turned disastrous for New Mexico as the San Jose State Spartans pulled an 89-82 upset over the Lobos.
This is the same team that was on a 17-game losing streak and was averaging 61 points in conference play. Yes, the same team the Lobos had defeated by 32 points at The Pit earlier this month.
Commentators saying the Lobos “feasted on the Wolf Pack and choked on the Spartans” described New Mexico’s inconsistent season perfectly. The Lobos were coming from a bye week and were predicted to easily pick up the win against San Jose State.
With Tuesday’s result, New Mexico (11-16, 5-10 Mountain West) has locked itself into a losing record before the MW tournament in Las Vegas. San Jose State is still at the bottom of the conference, but improves to a 4-23 overall record and 1-14 in the MW.
Carlton Bragg scored 27 seconds in to give the Lobos the first lead of the night. However, SJSU responded with a three-pointer that started an 8-0 run. This shot came from Noah Baumann, who has scored a three-pointer in 25 games straight. The sophomore guard finished the night with 26 points going 8-11 from beyond the arc.
The Lobos eventually found their rhythm and made the game close during this first period. By halftime, SJSU led only by one point at 47-46 even though the Spartans were shooting at 61.3 percent from the field.
The second half was when things really started going south for the visiting team. Two and a half minutes into the period, New Mexico had yet to score while SJSU had found a seven-point lead.
Senior Anthony Mathis broke the dry spell with two successful free throws. Makuach Maluach added a layup and the Lobos were within three-points. But New Mexico didn’t keep going with this momentum. By the 14:32 timeout, the Lobos were down by ten points.
While the Spartans were having one of their best offensive nights of the season, the Lobos own a lot of the responsibility for Tuesday’s result.
Mathis, UNM’s leading scorer, only put up five points and went 1-12 from beyond the arc. Three-pointers were not going in for the Lobos during the second period as they attempted 20 but only made three. Keith McGee made the first one of the half with about a minute remaining in the game.
The Spartans had three players see double digits. Baumann led all scorers with 26 points, Forward Michael Steadman followed with 21, and Zach Chappell contributed with 17 points. Steadman’s 21 points combined with 11 rebounds for a double-double.
New Mexico had four players in double figures with McGee leading with 25 points. Corey Manigault and Bragg saw 17 points each, and Maluach picked up 14.
Up next, New Mexico hosts Colorado State on Saturday for an 8pm match.