UNM head coach Paul Weir is now 0-2 against his former team after the New Mexico State Aggies swept the season-series with a 65-62 win over the Lobos at DreamStyle Arena on Saturday Night.
Zach Lofton scored a game-high 22 points for the Aggies, making 8 of 16 shots from the floor and one of five from behind the arc. After a back and forth game with 15 score changes and three ties, the 6-4, 180 lbs native of St. Paul, Minnesota put the Aggies in the lead for good with a layup with 2:34 left on the clock.
Chris McNeal and Troy Simons would add free throws in the closing two minutes of the game, but the young Lobos were unable to make a clutch shot in the closing minutes of play, including a heartbreaking game-tying three point jumper by Anthony Mathis that rimmed as time expired.
Antino Jackson led UNM with 14 points, while Troy Simons added 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds. The Lobos fought hard and nearly beat the Aggies in the first game of Sam Logwood’s leave of absence from the team, but they clearly missed the leading scorer and rebounder on the season.
Neither team shot well from the floor with the Aggies owning a slight advantage in field goal percentage (43% to 39%), while both teams combined to make just 12 of 48 shots from behind the arc.
The two teams were evenly matched in points off turnovers, fast break baskets, and points off the bench, but the Aggies owned a plus-16 margin in points in the paint, an area in which the Lobos have struggled without a big post player down low.
In addition to dominating points in the paint, the Aggies benefitted from a plus-8 margin in total rebounds, including 15 offensive boards. Through December 9th, the Lobos rank 330th out of 351 teams in rebound margin.
With the loss, the Lobos fall to 3-7 on the season and 3-2 at home. UNM will look to break their three-game losing streak with a home matchup against Arizona next Saturday Night. The Wildcats are 6-3 on the year, with a win against 7th ranked Texas A&M on their resume.