The Lobos will look to notch their second road victory of the season and even its overall record again on Saturday afternoon when they travel to square off against conference for San José State.
Despite missing four key players, The University of New Mexico men's basketball team (11-12, 6-4 MW) mounted a late comeback against Utah State Wednesday night, but didn't quite have enough juice to get over the hump.
After erasing most of a 15-point deficit to make it a single-possession game late, the Lobos fell 89-80 to the Aggies.
In the postgame news conference, UNM head coach Paul Weir appeared to discount the notion of walking away with a moral victory, adding that they expected to win the game regardless of the circumstances. But the result seems to one that many people believe the team can build on, despite it coming in a losing effort.
The loss to Utah State put an end to UNM's three-game win streak and dropped its record to 1-9 away from home, but the Lobos probably couldn't ask for a better bounce-back opportunity.
San José State has yet to notch a Mountain West victory in 10 tries and has just three victories on the season so far, sitting at 3-18 overall. The Spartans have put up a good showing in several games, but enter Saturday's matchup with the Lobos on a 10-game skid.
In its most recent games, SJSU suffered a 76-67 road loss to UNLV on Wednesday and fell in overtime by a count of 90-86 while hosting Wyoming on Jan. 27. The team has not won a home game since late November.
The Spartans could find themselves in trouble if they do not take care of the ball. According to a release the Lobos are No. 1 in the conference in steals and turnovers. SJSU has committed an average of 17.3 per game so far, nearly six more than it normally forces opponents to commit.
New Mexico has committed 11 turnovers or less in six of its last seven games, and will likely have the steady hand of senior transfer Antino Jackson distributing the ball again after serving a one-game suspension. The guard has been dished out 17 assists to just one turnover in the last two games in which he suited up.
After struggling to find its shot on the road earlier in the season, the Lobos have started to improve in that area—shooting an impressive 48 percent as a team in the last three away contests.
Junior guard Anthony Mathis has continued to provide a lift for his team, putting up 12.0 points per game—16.0 in conference games—and notched a team-high 25 in Wednesday's loss.
San Jose State has averaged just under 66 points per game as a team and is led by junior forward Ryan Welage, who boasts an 18.6 point per game average.
Another potential advantage for the Lobos could be found at the 3-point line, in part because of the volume of shots the team hoists from the outside.
UNM connects on 36.2 percent of its attempts from the outside, but has tallied double-digit makes from beyond the arc in six of its last seven games. SJSU makes an average of 5.6 shots from long range per game.
The game is schedule for a 4 p.m. start time and will be carried on AT&T SportsNet and on 770 KKOB-AM Lobo Radio Network.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.