New Mexico St.-New Mexico Preview
While New Mexico was caught off guard during New Mexico State’s
last visit to Albuquerque, the undefeated Lobos know better than to
overlook the Aggies this time around.
Looking to go to 11-0, No. 17 New Mexico tries for a ninth
victory in 10 matchups against New Mexico State as these rivals
begin a home-and-home set Saturday in The Pit.
The Lobos have won 19 of 20 home games against unranked foes
since the start of last season, with their only loss coming 62-53
to New Mexico State on Nov. 16, 2011. New Mexico, which had
previously taken eight straight home meetings in this series by an
average of 12.8 points, had 21 turnovers in that game and shot 28.0
percent – its worst mark since March 2000.
“They are a good group and there are bragging rights on the
line,” Lobos guard Hugh Greenwood said. “We weren’t ready for it
and they hit us first. We regretted it and it hurt us throughout
While New Mexico got some revenge with an 89-69 win at New
Mexico State last Dec. 28, it will surely be looking for more come
“They won in here last year and not a lot of people can do that
or have done that,” coach Steve Alford said. “It hasn’t sat well
with us that we lost a non-conference game in here.”
Though Alford’s team should have an edge playing at home – these
schools meet again Wednesday in Las Cruces – he’s wary of the
Aggies (5-4), who enter this game having won four of five following
a 58-52 victory at South Alabama on Dec. 4.
“They’re a very good team. They are big. They are athletic
again,” he said. “We’re playing pretty well. … They are playing
pretty well. It should be a great matchup. We know this is a very
difficult test, but it is one I think our guys are prepared
New Mexico allowed its fewest points this season and forced a
season-high 23 turnovers last Saturday in a 65-52 win over
Valparaiso. The Lobos, though, only held a 25-22 rebounding edge
over the Crusaders, an effort that may not cut it against New
“They have a plus-9.5 rebound average,” Alford said. “That’s the
thing that really comes to the forefront with them. That’s an
incredible rebounding advantage. So, I think it starts with the
“If we defend the way we are capable of defending, we kind of
ease the pressure of the backboard.”
Chad Adams, Alex Kirk and reserve Demetrius Walker each scored
12 points for the Lobos last weekend. Adams, who totaled six points
in his first three games, is averaging 8.7 on 53.1 percent shooting
over his last six since moving into the starting lineup.
“Chad has been tremendous. He has had a five- or six-game
stretch that has been really special,” Alford said. “He is making
shots and free throws. We are asking a lot out of him and he has
delivered for us.”
Adams and the Lobos could struggle to put points on the board
against the Aggies, who’ve limited opponents to 59.6 points per
game and 37.9 percent shooting to rank second in the Western
Athletic Conference in both categories.
New Mexico State, which is led by Daniel Mullings’ 13.9 points
per game, has lost 16 of 17 matchups against Top 25 foes, including
nine straight by an average of 12.0 points.