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Howling With The Lobos: Boise State Preview

It’s Conference Time

Montana v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What: New Mexico Lobos vs. Boise State Broncos

When: Wednesday December 4th, 2019 at 7 p.m. Mountain

Where: DreamStyle Arena a.k.a. The Pit in Albuquerque, NM

Coverage: Stadium will have the coverage TV side. You can find it at watchstadium.com, or on social media. The UNM Sports Radio Network will have the radio call (770 AM/94.5 FM KKOB in Albuquerque, or the TuneIn App search KKOB).

Series: This is the 17th meeting all-time between Boise State and New Mexico, with New Mexico holding an 11-5 record in the series. Last season the two only played each other once, with the Lobos holding onto a 73-72 win in The Pit.

Breakdown:

Mountain West Conference play opens up Wednesday night as the Boise State Broncos, who sit at 4-2, visit the New Mexico Lobos, who are currently 7-2. The early start to the conference slate is because of the conference tournament starting a week earlier this season.

Boise State comes into the contest on a three-game winning streak; beating BYU, Pacific and UNC-Wilmington. The BYU win was in overtime, while the Pacific was a triple-overtime affair. Their other win was over Life Pacific to start the season. Their two losses were to Oregon and UC-Irvine.

The Lobos are on a two-game winning streak, after beating Montana this past Sunday by final of 72-63. That came on the heels of beating Wisconsin in the third-place game of the Legends Classic.

Shooting woes continue:

Against Montana the Lobos struggled shooting yet again; shooting just 43% from the field and missing 12 free throws. The good side of the game was that Montana also shot 43% from the field and that the Lobos made 23-of-35 from the line, compared to 4-of-7 for Montana.

This is a different story, though, the Lobos cannot afford to have another poor shooting night now playing conference games. Boise State is too good of a team to have an off night against.

Zane Martin keeps hot streak going:

In the preview before Sunday’s game, I had mentioned that Martin was a nice bright spot for the Lobos, especially due to the struggles this season of Vance Jackson. Martin had scored nine or more points in every contest, except two, this season entering Sunday’s affair with the Grizzlies. He was able to keep his hot streak going with an 11-point performance in 22 minutes.

With no end in sight to Jackson’s struggles, Martin will again play a key role in the Lobos offense. They’ll need him to step up again against the Broncos.

Key players for Boise State:

The Broncos come into Albuquerque with a powerful starting five, led by Derrick Alston, Jr. who is averaging 21.8 points per game. Alston will attack the basket on the norm, using his 6-foot-9 frame to his advantage. The Lobo big men will have a hard time staying out of foul trouble with Alston in the game.

As if Alston wasn’t the only problem the Lobos might encounter, the Broncos also boast three other players averaging more than nine points a game. Forward RJ Williams is averaging 15.8 points per game, as well as nine rebounds per game. Guard Justinian Jessup is averaging 14.8 points per game and guard Alex Hobbs is averaging 9.7 per game.

Lobos X-Factor in this game:

It took until the ninth game of the season, but the Lobos finally had a game where they were in single digits in turning the ball over. UNM had just nine in the win over Montana. That was one of the main factors, along with free throw makes, that gave the Lobos the win. New Mexico, though, needs to have a repeat in the low turnover output if they expect to win this game. As has been mentioned many times in this preview already, Boise State has too good of an offense to have the Lobos help them out with poor shooting and now turning over the ball. This will be the key in the contest.

Prediction:

Expect another good game between these two, three out of the last four between them have been decided by five points or less. JaQuan Lyle should have another big game, with Zane Martin and Carlton Bragg chipping in. Sooner or later Vance Jackson will get going, might be tonight. The Lobos have seemingly beat themselves in their two losses and will need to avoid turnovers to pick up this win. I think they’ll get it done, but it’ll be close. I got Lobos-78 Broncos-74.