Freshman Makuach Maluach led the Lobos with 15 points, while senior guard Antino Jackson added 11 points and a game-high seven assists as the Lobos defeated the San José State Spartans 80-47 in a lopsided victory at DreamStyle Arena on Saturday Night.
The heavily favored Lobos took advantage of a favorable matchup at home against a 3-11 team, with five Lobos scoring in double figures on a night in which UNM shot an impressive 46.7% from the floor and 36% from behind the arc.
Leading scorer Ryan Welage led the Spartans with 17 points on 6 of 19 shooting from the floor and 2 of 4 from downtown, but lacked any offensive support from his teammates as San José State shot a pedestrian 32% from the floor.
Turnovers and turnover differential are key factors for the Lobos and their press defense. Tonight Paul Weir’s system worked with flying colors, as UNM forced 20 turnovers while giving up the ball only six times on offense.
The Lobos matched the Spartans rebounding the ball, with both teams pulling down 32 boards apiece, while UNM owned an impressive advantage in fast break points with 20, compared to zero for San José State.
Free throw shooting proved to be the one sore spot on an otherwise excellent night for UNM. The Lobos entered the game as the 19th ranked team out of 351 schools in free throw shooting at 77.3 on the season, only to shoot 58% from the line against the Spartans. Missing eight free throws out of 19 attempts proved not to be an issue tonight in the blowout victory, but it is something Weir will likely address with his team on Monday.
With the win, the Lobos move to 7-10 on the season, and 2-2 in Mountain West Conference play. UNM hosts the Wyoming Cowboys on Wednesday night before heading back on the road in search of their first victory away from DreamStyle Arena against the UNLV Rebels on 1/17/18.