New Mexico overcame a slow start at the Event Center on Saturday and ran away in the second half for an 83-64 victory over San Jose State, who lost its third in a row and dropped to 6-14 (1-7 Mountain West).
Frank Rogers led San Jose State with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Brandon Clarke had 14 points and another eight rebounds. For New Mexico, Elijah Brown scored 33 points and six rebounds. The son of former Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown, Elijah Brown, made 10 of 15 shots from the field and made all nine free throw attempts. Tim Williams had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Dane Kuiper (no relation to San Francisco Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper) had 11 points and four rebounds.
San Jose State scored the first 5 points off a jumper and three-pointer by Rogers, with New Mexico’s Sam Logwood missing two free throws in between the two Rogers scores. Down 5-0, New Mexico got on the board with 18:13 left in the first half after a putback layup by Williams. Still, San Jose State kept the pace and took a 10-7 lead around two minutes later, after a Princeton Onwas wide-open layup and three-pointer by Cody Schwartz. The offense would stall after those shots, and New Mexico scored 12 unanswered points, seven of which came off three San Jose State turnovers. San Jose State responded with an 11-4 run, to move within 23-21 with just under five minutes before halftime. Both teams would evenly exchange baskets for the last 4:59 and returned to the locker rooms with New Mexico leading 37-32 at halftime. One difference-making play for New Mexico happened with 2:33 left when Tim Williams scored a putback layup for New Mexico. That was after both he and Joe Furstinger missed layups, but they dominated the boards for offensive rebounds.
However, Schwartz left the game with 29.4 seconds left in the first half, after hurting his knee when colliding with Brandon Clarke. He fell and landed near the courtside media table, in front of the student broadcaster for campus radio station KSJS. Schwartz did not re-enter the game; he rode an exercise bike during the second half.
Entering the second half, both teams scored on their initial possessions. Soon, San Jose State’s offense faltered and ran out of answers for New Mexico’s efficient offense. That along with turnovers, bricked free throws, and an inability to catch up with New Mexico defensively all let New Mexico run away to a 55-39 lead with 14:49 left and maintain a large lead all the way to the end.
Speaking with media after the game, Rogers thought that New Mexico was aggressive throughout the game, something that challenged San Jose State.
“We just have to be the more aggressive team as they were, and that’ll give us better results,” said Rogers.
“Part of the problem today was our turnovers allowed them to get runouts a little bit and play a little faster,” remarked San Jose State coach Dave Wojcik. San Jose State had 17 turnovers, compared to New Mexico’s 19. Several of the San Jose State turnovers were from passes thrown out of bounds or intercepted by New Mexico.
Wojcik also commented about Elijah Brown: “They ran him a lot of staggered screens [and] a lot of baseline screens, and we weren’t alert.”
Although Wojcik did not have specific information about the injury to Schwartz other than Schwartz being ruled out of the game, Wojcik expects Schwartz to be “day-to-day” leading up to Wednesday’s road game at Colorado State.