The Lobos look to build upon their impressive 85-81 road victory over UNLV with a win today against the visiting San Diego State Aztecs at DreamStyle Arena. After an impressive 3-1 start to conference play, including a 20-point blowout at home against Utah State, the Aztecs enter today’s game with consecutive losses against Boise State and Fresno State.
Although the Aztecs are 3-3 in conference play, they boast an impressive win against No. 12 ranked Gonzaga in December.
Like UNM, the Aztecs utilize a balanced attack on offense, with four players averaging double-digit points per game. Junior guard Devin Watson and senior forward Malik Pope each average just over 13 points per game, with Pope and fellow forward Jalen McDaniels both averaging a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game.
As the 51st ranked defense in the nation at 66.5 points per game, the strength of San Diego State this season has been their ability to limit their opponents ability to score, and they excel as at rebounding as the 46th-ranked team in rebounds per game (39.1).
Limiting the Lobos may be a difficult task for head coach Brian Dutcher’s team, as New Mexico averages just under 80 points per game. A big reason for UNM’s recent surge has been an increase in scoring by freshman Makuach Maluach over the past four games. The 6-5 guard from Syndey, New South Wales, has averaged 18 points during that span, including a career-high 21 points against Fresno State on 1/13.
UNM’s recent string of success, with victories over San Jose State, Wyoming, and UNLV, comes as a bit of surprise as the Lobos played those games without forward Sam Logwood and guard Troy Simons. Simons has not played since receiving a one-game suspension for multiple violations of the league’s sportsmanship policy. Logwood has been in head coach Paul Weir’s doghouse over the course of the season and is dealing with a shoulder injury. It is not clear if either player will play today against San Diego State.
Oddsmakers in Vegas list this game as a virtual coin toss, with the home team favored by just 1.5 points. The Lobos own a 46-38 advantage in the series history between the two schools and swept the season series against the Aztecs last season.
Tipoff is set for 5:00 MT, with television coverage provided by CBS Sports Network.