The New Mexico Lobos put an end to their two-game Mountain West Conference slide on Saturday night with a 76-67 win over the San Diego State Aztecs inside Viejas Arena.
Led by Jalen House’s 29 points, the Lobos hopped back into the race at the top of the conference standings, while handing the Aztecs their first conference loss of the season.
Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 22 points in the win, with Javonte Johnson adding 10 of his own, while Morris Udeze put in 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
New Mexico raced out to an early lead thanks in large part to Mashburn and Johnson, the latter of whom scoring all 10 of his game points in the first 20 minutes. The Lobos took a 38-28 lead into the locker room, but it turned into a different story in the second half.
The Aztecs fought their way back into the contest with Keshad Johnson and Matt Bradley to take a 49-48 lead with 8:30 left to play when things unraveled for the host team.
When Morris Udeze caught a pass from Mashburn, he was swiped at by Nathan Mensah, who had three fouls at the time. The referees whistled Mensah for a foul and then tacked on a technical foul when Mensah reacted with disbelief to the call. That fouled out Mensah and gave the Lobos a chance to take the lead with two House free throws. House then made a three pointer on the ensuing possession, added another after Mashburn knocked down a jumper, then added a layup and before fans knew it the score was 60-49.
Adam Seiko would rally the Aztecs to get back with 64-60 before House would take over again and put the game out of reach.
With the win the Lobos moved to 16-2 overall and 3-2 in the MWC, moving into a tie for fourth place, a game and a half behind the leading Nevada Wolf Pack.
For House, the game against San Diego State and his 15-point performance against Oral Roberts earned him Mountain West Player of the Week.
New Mexico will entertain the San Jose State Spartans in The Pit on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm Mountain Time.
The Spartans will come to Albuquerque with a 12-6 record overall and are 3-2 in the MWC as well. This past Saturday San Jose State defeated Fresno State by a 74-64 final.
Omari Moore leads the Spartans with an average of 15.1 points per game. Moore is averaging 18.4 points on the road this season, which the Spartans have played eight of this season.
Moore had 15 points and eight assists against the Bulldogs. Last time the Spartans played the Lobos, Moore had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
This will be the 24th meeting of the two on the hardwood. The Lobos own an 18-5 record over the Spartans, but SJSU has won two of the last three games against the Lobos.
The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 on the television and the Lobo Sports Radio Network on the airwaves.