GAME NOTES: New Mexico tries to remain on task this evening, as the Lobos host the San Jose State Spartans in Mountain West Conference action in The Pit.
Trailing only fifth-ranked San Diego State in the MWC standings at the moment, the Lobos have to be careful not to look beyond a San Jose State team which is still winless in conference play. New Mexico, currently 7-1 versus the rest of the league, has won four straight and nine of the last 10 thanks to a 78-65 triumph over Utah State on the road earlier this week.
One of the newest additions to the conference, San Jose State comes from the Western Athletic and is still waiting to break through for that first MWC victory. Not only have the Spartans lost all nine conference tests thus far, the team has not defeated another Division I foe since Dec. 18 when it posted an 89-85 win over UC Davis in three overtimes.
The latest setback for SJSU came on Wednesday night when it bowed to UNLV at home, 70-46.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, the Lobos have come out on top in all seven previous meetings.
After scoring just 25 points in the first half against UNLV earlier this week, it actually got worse for the Spartans as they tallied only 21 points on 6- of-27 shooting from the floor over the final 20 minutes of action. Jaleel Williams managed to come up with 16 points and nine rebounds for the hosts, followed by reserve Rashad Muhammad with 13 points, but the latter shot only 1-of-7 behind the 3-point line as the team finished a dismal 3-of-21 out on the perimeter.
San Jose State shot a season-low 28.8 percent from the floor in its last outing, marking the fourth straight game in which the team has come in at 37.0 percent or less, so it is no wonder the squad can't get into the win column. Williams and Muhammad lead the team in scoring during MWC contests with 11.2 ppg each, but while the former is able to pace the group on the glass in those nine games with 5.4 rpg, his feeble 37.5 percent effort at the free-throw line leaves a lot to be desired.
At the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum where wins are hard to come by for the visitors, New Mexico kept the pressure on against the Aggies and managed to come away with the double-digit victory, even without Alex Kirk who remains out of action with an injury. Cameron Bairstow stepped up with 22 points and four blocked shots, followed by Kendall Williams with 16 points, Cullen Neal 13 off the bench and Deshawn Delaney 12 points. Hugh Greenwood shot only 2- of-9 from the floor and finished with five points, but made up for it with a game-high 10 rebounds.
In conference play, the Lobos are following the lead set by Bairstow with his 20.8 ppg and the 6.5 rpg which makes him the active leader in both categories at the moment. Williams chimes in with 17.0 ppg and while he has converted just 38.1 percent of his field goal tries, his 43.5 percent out on the perimeter and team-best 45 assists help to compensate for sure.
Even without Kirk on the inside banging around a host of SJSU players, New Mexico still has more than enough talent to come out on top in this meeting and remain undefeated in the all-time series.
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