What: New Mexico Lobos vs. Grand Canyon Antelopes
When: Wednesday December 17th, 2019 at 7 p.m. Mountain
Where: DreamStyle Arena a.k.a. The Pit in Albuquerque, NM
Coverage: The Mountain West Network will carry the television coverage (themw.com/watch). The UNM Sports Radio Network will have the radio call (770 AM/94.5 FM KKOB in Albuquerque, TuneIn App search KKOB).
Series: This will be the third meeting between the two schools. The series is tied at 1-1. The Antelopes got the better of the Lobos the last time they met back in 2014, 68-65 in Phoenix.
The New Mexico Lobos will look for their sixth consecutive win, and 10th straight home win, when they host Grand Canyon on Tuesday night at The Pit. The Lobos are 10-2 on the season following their 69-62 win over New Mexico State on Saturday night. Grand Canyon comes into the game 4-8 on the season. The Antelopes last game was last Thursday, an 82-58 loss to Northern Iowa.
Catching a small break:
After the opening two conference games and a game against arch-rival New Mexico State in a 10-day period, the Lobos will catch somewhat of a break the next three games with the Antelopes, Houston Baptist and UC-Davis coming to town over the next 12 days. Grand Canyon is 4-8, UC-Davis is 5-8 and Houston Baptist is 0-8 as of now.
You never want to take any game lightly, but this is going to be the softest part of the Lobos schedule. With some effort, the Lobos should turn the new year with a 13-2 record.
What are we going to see from Grand Canyon:
The Antelopes are not a deep team this season. They have about seven players that will play double digit minutes and very rarely do they play many beyond their top seven players. Their top player is Alessandro Lever, who is a 6-foot-10 junior center that averages 14.3 points per game. He had just nine points their last game.
The Antelopes do have three other players, Carlos Johnson, Isiah Brown and Jovan Blacksher Jr., that average in double figures in points. Beyond that, it gets really slim for Grand Canyon, with only three other players have an above one-point per game average.
Turnovers still an issue:
The Lobos committed 16 turnovers in Saturday’s win over NMSU, their second straight game of double-digit turnovers. Luckily, the Lobos forced 22 New Mexico State turnovers to boot, that helped them secure the win. However, it won’t be every night that the Lobos force over 20 turnovers, they need to cut down on them, especially with these next three games being winnable for UNM.
The Lobos need to use their depth to their advantage in this one. GCU’s best player, in Lever, has a tendency of getting into foul trouble. He has fouled out of three of 12 contests this season and finished with four fouls in two others.
The Lobos should use their depth of Carlton Bragg, Corey Manigault and Makuach Maluach to wear down the Antelopes front court and also get them into foul trouble.
The Antelopes are normally a tough team, the 2014-15 Lobos know that first-hand, but this seems like a rebuilding season for them. As stated above, Grand Canyon is not very deep, with only seven players seeing action in all twelve contests. I think the Lobos will really use that to their advantage in this one. It might be close early but expect the Lobos depth to take over in the second half. I got the Lobos-77 Grand Canyon-60.