UNM Basketball: Lobos head west to take on San José State Spartans

After a frustrating loss on the road against a hot-shooting Utah State team, the Lobos get a chance to rite the ship and secure their second road victory of the season on Saturday against a San José State team that is 0-10 in conference play.

With just seven players in uniform due to various injuries and off-court transgressions, the short-handed Lobos nearly overcame steep odds to defeat a Utah State team that shot 56% from the floor and 54% from behind the arc.

The Lobos will likely find it less challenging to keep pace with a Spartans team that is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation. At just 65.9 points per game, San José State ranks 326th out of 351 Division 1 teams, with only three wins on the season in 21 games.

The Spartans are a one-man team on offense, with junior forward Ryan Welage leading the team with 18.6 points per game. No other player on the San José State roster averages over nine points per game and the Spartans rank second to last among conference teams in free throw shooting percentage.

Three-point shooting and streaky play from behind the arc is the one strength of the 3-18 Spartans and one way in which they can sneak up and upset opponents. As a team, San José State ranks fifth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, led by Welage and freshman guard Noah Baumann.

Another reason for San José State’s struggles this season has been their collective inability as a team to limit their opponents from scoring. The Spartans allow 74.4 points per game (240th in the nation), with Wyoming and Boise State each posting over 90 points against the Spartans this season.

It is not clear if senior point guard Antino Jackson will play on Saturday after missing Wednesday’s loss at Utah State for breaking a team rule. If Jackson is not reinstated by head coach Paul Weir, look for junior guard Chris McNeal to act as the primary point guard for the Lobos.

The Lobos had no problem with the Spartans when the two teams faced off at DreamStyle Arena on January 5th. Five Lobos scored in double figures, as New Mexico cruised to a lopsided 80-47 win over a Spartans team that shot just 31.8% from the floor.

Tipoff is set for 4:00 pm, with television coverage provided by AT&T Sportsnet/Root Sports.