Utah State Aggies Stay Perfect in Conference with Back-to-Back Wins Over New Mexico Lobos

Utah State Aggies Stay Perfect in Conference with Back-to-Back Wins Over New Mexico Lobos

Mountain West Basketball

Utah State Aggies Stay Perfect in Conference with Back-to-Back Wins Over New Mexico Lobos

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Queta, Utah State were just too much for the beleaguered Lobos.


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Aggies still perfect, but Aztecs loom.

The Utah State Aggies (9-3, 6-0 Mountain West) defeated the New Mexico Lobos (3-6, 0-6 Mountain West) in their Mountain West Conference Series on Wednesday and Friday at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas.

It was a series that featured a combined 159 – 91 final score, but perhaps more impressive is the 94 – 51 rebounding margin that favored the Aggies – an impressive feat considering New Mexico once tallied a school record 79 boards in a single game earlier in the season (although against a Division III program).

Neemias Queta continued his campaign to dominate the paint in the Mountain West, accruing 5 blocks in the first game alone against New Mexico, and tallying 8 total in the series to accompany his combined 29 points and 19 rebounds. But perhaps it was the way he changed the game in so many other ways, especially defensively, that made Queta even more dominant than his solid stat line suggests.

Often New Mexico’s roster looked afraid of the seemingly imminent swat that was coming from Queta, resulting in numerous changed shots and even missing relatively open shots near the rim.

To be fair, Queta – just a junior not quite halfway through the season – already holds Utah State’s school record for blocks and is a has a pretty commanding presence down low.

Offensively too though, Queta looked dominant and when New Mexico’s defense collapsed on him even the slightest bit, he had more than enough from the supporting cast to keep the offense flowing.

But this dunk pretty much epitomizes the challenges he created for New Mexico’s defense.

11 of the 12 players that saw minutes in game two for Utah State saw at least one basket fall for them, featuring three players not named Neemias Queta in double figures: Marco Anthony (12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists in game two), Justin Bean (13 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists in game two) and the freshman Steven Ashworth (10 points, 5 assists in game two).

For New Mexico, only the team’s two seniors were able to reach what has been an elusive double figure mark – Keith McGee (10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist in game one) and Makuach Maluach (13 points, 2 rebounds in game 2).

You have to imagine the Lobos will probably take bright spots wherever they can get them. and for this series it was the emergence of Nolan Dorsey (7 points, 2 rebounds in game two) with some decent point guard play in the second game of the series and a little bit more confidence from the North Carolina transfer Jeremiah Francis (8 points, 3 assists, 2-2 on three pointers in game two). Dorsey scored his first collegiate points in the second contest and scored one more point than he had minutes in Friday night’s game. He also showed some good fundamentals defensively with his limited time on the court, something Lobo fans are desperately hoping to see more of.

For now, New Mexico can look to build on these smaller micro-wins against some softer competition in the Mountain West after a brutal start against some of the top teams in the league. They now enter a stretch that features bottom-half-of-the-league teams UNLV, San Jose State and Fresno State, all games that New Mexico has an opportunity to at least split.

It’s just the opposite for Utah State. After the long road stretch, the Aggies will have their first significant test in conference against the league’s preseason pick, San Diego State back in Logan, UT.

After the series, the Aggies remain not only perfect in conference, but remain one of the impressive 36 teams that are unblemished on the road this season.


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