A late-night game on the road resulted in a 71-55 loss for New Mexico on Wednesday.
This was the second loss the Utah State Aggies handed the Lobos this season. The first one was on Jan. 26 and came down to an officiating call. However, the Lobos hold all the responsibility for the second result.
New Mexico is now 11-15 overall and 5-9 in the Mountain West conference. Utah State improved to 21-6 overall and 11-3 in the conference. This is tied for the most conference wins by the Aggies since they joined the MW in 2013.
The game stayed pretty close during that first period. The Aggies opened the game with a three-pointer but New Mexico followed this with an 8-0 run. At the 8:22 mark, redshirt sophomore Keith McGee got a layup that put the Lobos up 20-13. Utah State went on an 8-0 run after this and took a 21-20 lead.
Senior Anthony Mathis broke the dry spell with two free throws and then a shot from beyond the arc to give his team a 25-21 lead with five minutes to go.
However, the Lobos let their guard down on defense and allowed Sam Merrill to have the last possession of the half and score a three-pointer before the period was over. Utah State was up 35-32.
Utah State won the game even with a 37.1 shooting percentage from the field. New Mexico was at 40 percent, but the Lobo offense struggled during the second half, including a five minute period of not scoring.
Turnovers were an issue as well. While the Lobos’ goal was to keep them to a single digit, New Mexico had eight in the first half and 10 in the second period. Utah State got 23 points off of these, while New Mexico only got four points from the Aggies’ eight turnovers.
Aggie freshman Neemias Queta led everyone with 23 points throughout the night. He scored all 15 of USU’s first 15 points while the rest of his team had missed all 14 of the shots they took. He also registered 10 rebounds, which gave him his eight double-double of the season.
Mathis led the Lobos with 20 points. He was the only New Mexico player to see double digits.
Up next, the Lobos head to California to take on San Jose State for a Tuesday night matchup.