Utah State vs. New Mexico: Preview, TV Schedule, Live Stream, Radio, Odds
The Lobos hung tough with the Aggies in Albuquerque and will try their chances in Logan.
New Mexico has a second chance to show the first meeting should have gone their way.
WHO: Utah State Aggies (14-5, 5-2 MW) vs. New Mexico Lobos (8-9, 3-4 MW)
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20 — 9:00 PM MT/8:00 PM PT
WHERE: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum; Logan, Utah (10,270)
ODDS: Utah State -14
“I feel like [New Orleans Saints head coach] Sean Payton. . . Unfortunately it was not over and back,” said New Mexico head coach Paul Weir after a stinging loss to Utah State on Jan. 26 inside Albuquerque’s fabled area, The Pit.
With a 66-65 lead and just 31 seconds remaining, the ref’s whistle blew as New Mexico’s Anthony Mathis was charged with a half court violation, a call the Mountain West Conference later acknowledged was incorrect.
Then with 1.8 seconds left, Utah State’s Abel Porter hit a contested three pointer to seal Utah State’s fifteenth win of the season.
It was a game that could have been a turning point for the Lobos, a massive boost of confidence having lost four of their previous five conference games. But the late call was too much to overcome and the Aggies escaped Albuquerque with a 68-66 victory.
Since the last match-up, New Mexico has lost three of its last five and is currently tied with Air Force for seventh place while Utah State has gone 5-1 in that same stretch, and moved to a second place tie with Fresno State in the conference standings.
Like Fresno State, Utah State is doing its part to try to keep pace with front-runner Nevada. Leading scorer Sam Merril and Mountain West Conference freshman of the year candidate Neemias Queta are a big part of that.
Merril and Queta’s combined stats through their last six games are impressive to say the least. The two Aggie standouts have tallied 36.5 points per game, 13.5 rebounds per game, 7.67 assists per game, 2.83 blocks per game and 1.67 steals per game.
That’s quite the production out of just two guys.
Meanwhile, New Mexico is still trying to find its footing. There is no go to scorer yet, no player that can take over games. But there have been some notable stat lines for the Lobos recently.
Keith McGee and Drue Drinnon continue to improve in the Lobos’ offensive scheme at the point guard position, Anthony Mathis continues to score at a good clip, and there has been production from a variety of sources. On Saturday against Fresno State, Vance Jackson had a career night scoring 30 points in 32 minutes, bringing down 8 boards while on the floor and shooting 53.3% on the night.
If Jackson’s confidence and high level of play continues into Wednesday night’s contest, it will be hard for Utah State to match-up with the 6-9, 230 pound sophomore who, at times, dribbled the ball down the court for the Lobos through Fresno State’s staunch defense on Saturday.
But Utah State’s cohesiveness and ability to work the ball around the court – something that has been inconsistent for the Lobos and has caused so many teams fits – will also give New Mexico a tough match-up.