It was a January 4th game against the Utah State Aggies that propelled New Mexico, fresh off of a huge win at San Diego State, into a dark three-game slide. The slide included the team’s meltdown against Nevada and last-minute loss to UNLV.
Since then the Lobos have gotten back on track. They have had three big conference wins against Colorado State, Boise State, and Wyoming to climb back to a 12-8 overall record and a 5-3 record in conference play. Currently the team sits in fourth place in the conference, but is only 1⁄2 game out of first. Therefore, New Mexico should take tomorrow night’s game very seriously.
Utah State’s trajectory since defeating the Lobos hasn’t produced as many victories. After beating UNLV, USU is now in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Wyoming, San Diego State, and Colorado State all took it to the Aggies, who are now just 2-5 in conference play and 8-10 overall. Utah State will look to play spoilers once again, but this time they won’t have the local fanbase behind them.
Perhaps they won’t need the home court advantage. When these two met on January 4th, Jalen Moore and Koby McEwen were too much for the Lobos to handle. Moore stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, 7 boards and 5 assists. McEwen started off slow, but poured in 16 of his 18 in the decisive second half. Will the Lobos have a defensive answer to slow down the Aggies’ offense?
The better question is if USU can slow down current Mountain West player of the week Elijah Brown. Brown has been on an absolute tear during the win streak. His most recent game was a 33 point, 10 rebound performance against Wyoming. If he can fill it up efficiently, the Lobos will win this game. If not, the final result is harder to predict. Can Tim Williams outplay Moore? Can the Lobos get help from Damien Jefferson or Dane Kuiper?
Tomorrow’s game will be on ESPNU at 9:00 pm mountain time.