Mountain West Tournament: #7 New Mexico Beats San Jose State, 79-66
New Mexico’s Vance Jackson scored 26 to go with his 12 rebounds.
Is “Vegas Vance” back?
Vance Jackson (26 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) led all scorers, and the New Mexico Lobos soundly defeated the San Jose State Spartans on Wednesday in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Makuach Maluach (22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) also played a sound game for New Mexico. Corey Manigault also approached 20 with 18 points in the contest.
For San Jose State, it was a whole lot of Seneca Knight (22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Omari Moore (17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 8 steals) but contributions from the rest of the Spartans players weren’t enough to allow the Spartans to make a charge against the Lobos.
The win propels New Mexico to a quarterfinal matchup with Utah State, a team which the Lobos played just five days ago in a 66-64 victory.
For San Jose State, which fought hard throughout, it means the end to another challenging season with a young team and a loss for a program that is still trying to find its first win in the Mountain West Tournament since joining the conference in 2013.
Early in the game, it was San Jose State that looked like the better team, with the Spartans going up 8-4 with 18:02 remaining in the first half. But then New Mexico put together a key 21-0 run, fueled by defense, that put the Lobos up 25-8.
The run proved to be too much for the Spartans, as they were never able to come within more than 9 points through the rest of the game.
Key to the game was stingy defense, good ball movement on offense, a plus 9 rebounding differential in favor of New Mexico and a perfect night at the free-throw line, with New Mexico making all 14 attempted free throws.
Then there was the return of “Vegas Vance”. And Jean Prioleau had a brief opinion on the “Vegas Vance” nickname.
Jackson looked the part, once again, of a player who may once more be considered for the All-Mountain West Tournament team as he was a year before, when he averaged 25.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals.
So what is it that makes Jackson transform into his “Vegas Vance” at tournament time?
“I don’t want to lose. I don’t like losing. I feel like at this point our back is against the wall as a team we just want to, just, keep moving forward and we got a big one tomorrow against Utah State. And I do like that name [Vegas Vance].”
New Mexico could well use more of “Vegas Vance” tomorrow, when the Lobos take on the Utah State Aggies at 6 PM CT at the Thomas and Mack Center on CBS Sports.