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Lobo Pack Basketball: Norfolk State Preview

out of conference comes to a close

SMU v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What:

New Mexico Lobos vs. Norfolk State Spartans

When:

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Where:

University Arena, The Pit, in Albuquerque, NM

Coverage:

The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network. On the radio waves it will be carried on the UNM Sports Radio Network. Flagship station is 770 AM/96.3 FM in Albuquerque.

Series:

This is the first meeting between the two schools.

Breakdown:

The New Mexico Lobos will be looking to end their two-game losing streak on Tuesday night when they entertain the Norfolk State Spartans at The Pit.

UNM comes into the contest on the heels of a 90-72 loss to the SMU Mustangs on Sunday afternoon. That loss dropped the Lobos to 6-6 on the season.

The Norfolk State Spartans will enter Tuesday’s contest with a 9-3 record on the campaign but having lost their previous two games as well.

Back on December 11th the Spartans were defeated by Wichita State by a final of 71-58.

The Spartans’ last scheduled game was supposed to be played on Sunday against Loyola-Chicago but was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak with Loyola-Chicago.

What to expect from Norfolk State:

The Spartans are led by three different players that score in double figures in points.

Those players are Joe Bryant Jr., Kris Bankston and Christian Ings.

Bryant Jr. has struggled over the past four contests, however, despite still leading the team with 14 points per game.

Bryant Jr. has scored over 9 points only once in the last four games, but still has the ability to go off at any notice, especially given New Mexico’s defensive struggles over the last several games.

Bankston averages 11.7 points per game and has scored 10 or more points in four of the last five Spartans contests.

Ings is at a 10.6 points per game average and has been inconsistent lately in the scoring column.

Last time out Ings had 11 points against Wichita State, but that came after a 2-point outing against Hampton. Ings will need to be at the top of his game tonight against the Lobos.

Forward Dana Tate will also be a name that Lobo fans will hear being called during the game. Tate had 20 points against Wichita State and could take advantage of UNM’s lack of size underneath.

What to expect from the Lobos:

The Lobos's defense has been really questionable this season and it costed them big time against SMU.

Despite only turning the ball over 7 times in the contest, the Lobos allowed a ton of easy looks for the Mustangs, as SMU hit 50% of their shots.

The Lobos must do a better job of interior defense and rebounding if it expects to beat Norfolk State on Tuesday.

The inconsistent play outside of Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. will get better with time, though. The majority of this team had never played together before, so it will continue to take time to gel and play well off one another.

Final Thoughts and Prediction:

This is a golden opportunity for the Lobos to gel together and get a chance at a much-needed morale boosting victory.

Norfolk State has struggled on the road this season, with a 2-3 record, and in hostile environments they have really struggled.

I think the Lobos will get back to their winning ways on Tuesday night in front of a decent crowd.

I got Lobos-83 Spartans-71.