San Jose State unable to get first conference win after 67-51 loss to New Mexico

Photo credit: @SanJoseStateMBB

By Ana Kieu

The San Jose State men’s basketball team looked to avoid a five-game losing streak with a win over the New Mexico Lobos at Burns Arena, the home of the Dixie State Trailblazers, on Thursday. Neither team had a conference win prior to tipoff, but things changed at the buzzer — just not in favor of the Spartans. The Spartans lost to the Lobos 67-51 in St. George, Utah.

The Spartans’ starting lineup stayed the same. Omari Moore, Richard Washington, Jalen Dalcourt, Nate Lacewell and Ralph Agee took the court to play the sport they love. As of January 20, Washington is ranked the nation’s No. 1 top scoring small forward in the NCAA.

The Lobos opened the scoring in the first half. Kurt Wegscheider made a jumper to make it a 2-0 game at 18:32. Just 27 seconds later, the Spartans tied the game 2-2 when Richard Washington made a layup.
But New Mexico piled on the points and went on a 10-4 for a 9-point lead, 21-19, with 7:04 left.

As if things weren’t bad enough, New Mexico took advantage of seven Spartan turnovers for a 10-point lead, 27-17, with 3:49 left. As a result, Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau called a timeout to give his team time to regroup. While the Spartans showed some glimpses of hope in Sebastian Mendoza’s layup and Caleb Simmons’ free throws, the Lobos kept a 10-point lead, 31-21, at the end of the first half.

The Spartans shot just 8 of 23 from the field in the first half, and to add insult to injury, Richard Washington didn’t return for the second half. Washington took an apparent shot to the face during the first half.

It took Valdir Manuel just 20 seconds into the second half to score against the Spartans. Manuel gave the Lobos a 33-21 lead with a jumper. Jalen Dalcourt responded with a fast-break layup to cut the deficit to 10, 33-23, at 19:14.

At one point, New Mexico didn’t score for three minutes. Ralph Agee made a layup to pull the Spartans within nine, 50-41, with 8:08 left. The Spartans had a chance to correct their mistakes and bounce back, but the Lobo offense was on fire. Makuach Maluach finished with 25 points and six rebounds for the Lobos.

The Spartans wrapped up the second half scoring, but it was too little, too late. Jalen Dalcourt made a fast-break 3-pointer to pull within 16, 67-51, with 1:02 left in regulation. Makuach Maluach made a steal, the Lobos dribbled out the clock, and the Spartans lost 67-51. San Jose State fell to 2-11, 0-9 Mountain West. Ralph Agee led the Spartans with 14 points.

Meanwhile, the Lobos picked up their first conference win of the season. New Mexico improved to 5-8, 1-8 Mountain West.

The Spartans and Lobos face off again on Saturday, January 23 at 12 pm PT.

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