- Associated Press - Sunday, January 7, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Sticky fingers and 15 points from Makuach Maluach off the bench helped New Mexico cruise to an easy 80-47 victory Saturday over San José State.

The Lobos (7-20, 2-2 Mountain West) pilfered 12 steals - part of the 20 forced turnovers — turning those into 28 points off of the miscues.

In addition to the 28-1 advantage off on turnovers, New Mexico had a 20-0 bulge on fast break points.

“We didn’t feel like we necessarily like we had to do anything extra to create turnovers,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said. “We felt that we could just kind of get them.”

The Spartans knew New Mexico would be pressuring the ball and simply did not react well to that pressure, San José State coach Jean Prioleau said.

“We knew that they were going to put us in a situation where you have to make plays off the dribble because they switch everything and deny,” he said. “So you have to be ready to make plays off the dribble.”

But the Spartans never quite seemed able to do that as New Mexico never trailed and quickly built its lead to double figures at 18-6 following a 3-pointer Maluach midway through the first half.

A late first-half run pushed the lead to 39-23 at the break and the game was never close from there.

Ryan Welage had 17 points for San José State (3-12, 0-4), but the Lobos countered with 12 each from Chris McNeal and Anthony Mathis, while Antino Jackson dished out seven assists.

“We weren’t able to guard them man to man,” Prioleau. “We wanted to be able to switch it up a little bit. Go zone, go man, go zone, go man, try and change the game up. It worked in the first half. It didn’t work in the second half.”

BIG PICTURE

New Mexico’s win, after dropping two road games to frontrunners Boise State and Nevada, leaves it in the middle of the pack of the conference standings, but the Lobos remain undefeated at home in conference play. The key for New Mexico, however, is trying to win outside of the state as it has not won away from Albuquerque this season.

The Spartans continue to look for their first conference win and is the first MWC team to reach four conference losses.

ROSTER ISSUES

New Mexico starting guard Troy Simons was out of the game on a Mountain West-issued suspension after he was ejected for the second time this season for accruing double technicals in a game.

After injuring himself in practice earlier in the week, Lobos top scorer and rebounder Sam Logwood was on the bench with his left arm in a sling. Logwood’s status going forward remains unclear, Weir said, but Simons’ penalty was a one-game suspension, meaning he should be back for Wednesday’s game against Wyoming.

With just eight scholarship players available, all the Lobos players had to be ready to attack the game, Weir said.

“The work ethic and toughness they displayed,” he said, responding to questions about what he considered to be the key to the game. “All we talked about was toughness and just getting tougher and more physical and stop being soft. I think we’ve been soft here lately.”

UP NEXT

New Mexico is at home Wednesday against Wyoming.

San José State is at San Diego on Tuesday.


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