New Mexico (11-8, 4-2) had a long week to dwell on their loss to Wyoming and turn their attention to San Jose State (6-14, 1-7). As a result, they came out focused and able to take care of business against a lesser team.
The first half was a real battle even though New Mexico led most of it. The Lobos jumped out to a 23-14 lead with just under eight minutes to go in the half behind stingy defense.
The Spartans struggled to score, but they didn't back down. They closed the gap to 30-28 with less than three minutes left and went into intermission trailing 37-32.
The second half opened with a decisive 14-3 run that put UNM ahead 57-40 with fourteen minutes remaining. Their lead would not be in doubt again and in fact, they still had one more 10-0 run left in them.
Elijah Brown, shining off the bench for the second game in a row, led the Lobos with 33 points, which matches his career high. As always, he shot lights out from the free throw line (9/9) and added four threes.
Tim Williams, the rock on the block, paced the starters with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Perhaps of interest was that the Lobos started Xavier Adams and Jordan Hunter together in the back court for the first time this season. This was because Cullen Neal missed the game due to a concussion.
Neither put their fingerprints on this game; but New Mexico found a noteworthy contribution in shooting guard Dane Kuiper who had a solid stat line of 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Coach Neal rewarded his play with 28 minutes of action. We will see if he is given another shot on Wednesday at the Pit against Air Force.
Frank Rogers and Brandon Clarke led the Spartans with 16 and 14 points, respectively. However, San Jose State shot a paltry 15/28 from the free throw line and 7/21 from deep. They were also out-rebounded by ten. They will look for a better performance against Colorado State on Wednesday.