After Boise State’s complete 105-57 dismantling of the Spartans (3-20, 0-11 MW) last Saturday, SJS found some short-term reprieve in the first 17 minutes of Wednesday game against New Mexico (11-13, 5-7 MW).
But the Spartans unravelled after the Lobos found their legs and sprinted out to a convincing 92-60 win in front of 15,411 at New Mexico’s Dreamstyle Arena; better known as “the Pit”.
Nine different Spartans
SJS head coach Jean Prioleau had the Spartans clearly in the mix for a good part of the first half, utilizing nine different players to keep things interesting against the Lobos. It was 30-30 with about three minutes left before the Lobos finished with a late 15-2 run and a 42-32 first-half lead over the Spartans.
Interestingly enough, the Spartan’s turnover issue wasn’t. It was a small, but noteworthy victory for Prioleau’s struggling program. Three turnovers in the first half and 11 overall is good and right along the national average.
Another great weakness
But it exposes another great weakness - shooting. The Spartans just don’t have enough firepower or any sustainable shooting prowess to keep up with the Mountain West teams. Spartan guard Noah Baumann was the lone double figure scorer with 10 points. Overall, 35% team-shooting won’t cut it.
SJS was a completely different team in the second-half, as New Mexico continued to pull away with an opening 13-2 run. The Lobos also started to pound the ball inside on the Spartans, after softening the Spartans with 3s in the first half,
Again, 10+ 3s against
New Mexico shot 52% (14-27) from the arc and were 50% shooting overall. Four Lobos were in double figures: Corey Manigault, Makuach Maluach, Keith McGee and Anthony Mathis scored 17, 14, 20 and 16 points, respectively. For the Spartans, it was the 16th time giving up 10 3s or more.
The Spartan’s next face a formidable UNLV team (13-11, 7-5 MW) Saturday at SJS’s home arena.