Lobos Dominate Second Half To End Aztecs Win Streak 83-70
Point Guard Keith McGee has breakout game with 19 points and Anthony Mathis scores 17 in second half leading Lobos to victory.
A few years ago the Aztecs were acclaimed as one of NCAA basketball’s most elite defenses. Today, it’s not even a priority.
Albuquerque, NM– In the 15,411-seat Dreamstyle Arena, also known as The Pit, 10,279 fans attended a 9pm tip-off to see what has historically been a fierce, hard-fought rivalry between the Aztecs and Lobos.
This was the smallest crowd for this pairing since January 5, 2010, when just over 7500 were in attendance. The time slot for this game made it impractical for kids to attend. People on the East Coast watched the tipoff after 11pm.
The San Diego State Aztecs (13-9, 5-4) went into halftime just above with a one-point 37-36 lead. During the second half, the UNM Lobos (10-12, 4-6) trounced the Aztecs outscoring them 47-33, for a 83-70 win.
The Pit is a tough road venue for any team, but the lackluster Lobos were fresh off of a three-game losing streak during what has not been their best season, and because of it this game was very winnable for the Aztecs.
At one point the Aztecs had a double-digit lead at one point leading 16-5, and then 33-22 late in the first half before the Lobos shifted gears and nearly closed the gap going into halftime. The Lobos then went on a 36-10 run in the second half, and the Aztecs never got within single digits thereafter.
This was thanks in no small part to sloppy play and really bad defense. Hard to believe that just a few years ago San Diego State was nationally acclaimed for one of the most elite defenses in all NCAA basketball.
Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher, channeling his inner Captain Obvious, had this to say after the game: “We played a decent first half- not great- but decent. Then we finally had a bad half and it cost us on the road. Which it will. You have to play a lot better on the road.”
With the win UNM snapped a three-game losing streak, while the Aztecs snapped a three-game winning streak.
Sophomore Keith McGee managed 19 points in 24 minutes- a breakout game for the point guard.
Anthony Mathis heated up and scored 17 points in the second half including 3-3 pointers and three free throws after being fouled behind the arc.
Jalen McDaniels led the Aztecs with 25 points followed by Devin Watson with 13.
After losing to SDSU earlier in the season it was important for the Lobos to get this win, and they capitalized against the Aztecs who uncharacteristically have only won two road games this year. This season is a sharp contrast with years past when SDSU had one of the nation’s most stellar road records.
It’s notable that New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nunez has emphasized that his concerns with such late start games and how they impact attendance and ticket revenues, especially fierce rivalries like the Aztecs. Coverage and a new TV deal is an increasing hot topic in the Mountain West Conference community as fans have been increasingly subject to late start times, shoddy coverage and an eroding overall quality experience.
With the loss the Aztecs are now tied for fourth place in the Mountain West with UNLV and Boise State.
On Saturday the Aztecs host Utah State while UNM goes on to play Nevada.