Jackson leads balanced New Mexico past Colorado State 80-65
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Antino Jackson had his first double-double for New Mexico, leading four teammates in double figures and helping the Lobos beat Colorado State 80-65 on Saturday night.
Jackson had 12 points and 11 assists, while Anthony Mathis, Joe Furstinger and Troy Simons each had 13 points for New Mexico (11-11, 6-3 Mountain West), which won its third straight game.
“I thought they matched our intensity for a lot of minutes,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said. “Fortunately, as the game wore on, we were able to keep our lead. They made their runs, but fortunately we were able to stretch it when we needed to.”
Deion James had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Rams (10-13, 3-7) and Nico Carvacho 14 points and 15 boards.
After falling behind 46-32 early in the second half, Colorado State rallied behind a 16-7 run to pull within 53-48 midway through the second half. But the comeback stalled as Jackson and Makauch Maluach capped an 11-2 Lobos run with 3-pointers.
“In the second half, we were able to come out and get stops,” Jackson said. “We play off of energy and we had the better energy down the stretch and I think that’s what won us the game.”
With the Rams’ J.D. Paige breaking his right hand Wednesday against San Diego State, Colorado State was missing its two leading scorers as fellow guard Prentiss Nixon missed his third straight game with a left ankle sprain. Together they were averaging 28.3 points a game.
Their absence was significant, according to Colorado State coach Larry Eustacy.
“I was going to put myself in next, being an ex-point guard,” he said.
New Mexico has now won five of six overall and six straight homes games to move into sole possession of third place after Fresno State lost Saturday to Utah State.
Colorado State dropped its fourth straight.
KEY STATS: The Rams held an overwhelming advantage on the glass, 35-15, including 15-7 on the offensive side, but they were only able to turn that into a 16-10 edge on second-chance points.
“Carvacho might be the best offensive rebounder in the league,” Weir said. “He’s tremendous. He taught us a very valuable lesson (Saturday) in defensive rebounding. .They exposed us there. That’s something we haven’t really had a big problem with in a long time.”
The Lobos, however, had a 23-7 turnover advantage, turning that into a decisive 30-6 bulge on points off turnovers.
“The turnovers were the big number,” Eustachy said. “I said we had to keep it under 12. We doubled that.”
After missing five games, one for a league-mandated suspension for collecting two technicals in two games and the remaining four because of a coaching decision, former starting guard Troy Simons returned to the lineup Saturday, checking in eight minutes into the first half and hitting both of his 3-point attempts.
“We were obviously very happy for him to come back,” Weir said. “I know he was really excited to get back and for him to play well obviously made it even sweeter.”
Paige is expected to miss at least three weeks while Nixon is expected back for the Rams’ next game.
New Mexico travels to Utah State on Wednesday.
Colorado State is home against Wyoming on Wednesday.