Coming off of a close loss at reigning Mountain West champion Nevada, the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team can start the new year off the right way: with a win over Boise State on the road on Wednesday evening.
But it’ll be a tough task.
The Broncos enter Wednesday’s contest with a perfect 2-0 record in conference play, and a 12-2 record overall. Most recently, the team picked up a victory on the road at UNLV, 83-74, in a game that saw senior guard Chandler Hutchison score 32 points and 12 rebounds. In that game, he was also a perfect 3-for-3 from range.
Hutchison is also the Broncos’ leading scorer this season, averaging 17.5 points per game.
UNM (6-9, 1-1 Mountain West), most recently, lost to Nevada, but opened up conference play at home against Air Force in a dominating win.
All six of the Lobos’ wins have come at home, with the team seeking their first win on the road this season.
The Lobos, however, haven’t had that one player that just makes things work. Instead, it’s been more of a collective effort.
As far as scoring goes, senior forward Sam Logwood has been the best in that department. He’s averaging 13.4 points per game this season. He’s also been one of the Lobos’ more consistent rebounders, averaging 5.2 boards per game.
As of late, senior forward Joe Furstinger has been a double-double machine. He’s had four of them in UNM’s last four games, and in his most recent appearance at Nevada, Furstinger scored 10 points and brought down 10 rebounds. This season, he’s also been the Lobos’ most efficient rebounder, bringing down 6.3 boards per game.
UNM, as a team, has struggled in the rebounding category, while Boise State has thrived.
The Lobos rank in the bottom half in rebounding the basketball in the Mountain West, averaging 34.9 rebounds per game, while giving up an average of 39 boards per contest to their opponents.
UNM has struggled keeping opponents off the glass for much of the season and that trend could continue. Boise State is third in the conference, securing 40 rebounds per game, which is good for third in the conference—and has led to the Broncos earning a +8.3 rebound per game margin over their competition.
UNM is averaging 80.4 points per game, while Boise State is averaging 78.9 points per game. The Lobos, with their pressing defense, are forcing 17.6 turnovers per game as well.
Boise State and UNM have met 13 times before, with the Lobos leading the series 10-3. The Lobos have also swept the Broncos in each of the last two seasons, with their most recent win over the Broncos coming on Feb. 14, 2017 in Albuquerque, 78-73.
Tip-off for Wednesday’s contest is at 7 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on ESPN 3.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.