New Mexico shows why they are one of the dominant teams in the Mountain West dominating the Aztecs with a 88-70 win
New Mexico (14-3, 2-2 MWC) played rude hosts to the number 19 ranked San Diego State Aztecs (14-3, 3-1 MWC) as they put together a convincing team effort in handing the Aztecs their worst loss of the year. The teams played before 15,437 fans, the largest crowd since 2009. The Lobos were lead by senior guards Jalen House with 26 points and Jamal Mashburn adding 19 more. Both appeared more than healthy after having missed several games. On the defensive side of the ball, JT Toppin, a 6’9” freshman from Dallas had 17 points and an awe inspiring 16 rebounds to pace all teams. LeDee paced the Aztecs with a quiet 15 point game while Miles Byrd added 13 coming off the bench. Both teams played strong first half with early lead changes. The Aztecs dominated in the paint at one point outscoring the Lobos 16-4. The Aztecs would wind up with a 38-32 advantage. Meanwhile the Lobos were slow to pick up their ball thievery expertise. Averaging over 10 steals a game, they didn’t get their first one until later in the first half. They would wind up with 8. Midway through the first half the Lobos had accounted for 9 blocks. They would wind up with 14 while the Aztecs could only account for one swat. The Aztecs had a twelve point lead before the Lobos kicked into gear. The Lobos showed extreme quickness in their fly to the ball defense. They then caught fire going on a 9-0 run led entirely by Jaelyn House. The Lobos would lead 40-37 at halftime with a 17-2 run and the momentum going to the locker rooms. The Lobos would continue to keep the pedal to ground, running away with the game. The Aztecs struggled with momentum and quickly succumbed to the overwhelming Lobo onslaught. The Lobos would outrebound the Aztecs 38-32 and would have a 22 point lead. The Aztecs return home for another huge matchup on Wednesday against Nevada. The Wolfpack is coming off of a 64-55 loss to Boise State and hold a 15-2 season record, and a 2-1 MWC record.
Around the rest of the MWC
The Mountain West continues to show they are one of the better conferences in the NCAA. Saturday saw some exciting finishes. Utah State beat UNLV 87-86 on several last second free throws. Wyoming beat Fresno State 68-67 on a last second shot and San Jose State beat Air Force 70-67 on a three point shot with less than a second left. The conference standing show Utah State at the top with Boise State, San Diego State, Nevada and New Mexico rounding out the top five. Lurking next are Wyoming and Colorado State. There is such depth and talent in the conference this year. The conference winner will be challenged to be the tournament winner. Expect four and perhaps five teams making it to the NCAA’s this year.