ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Makuach Maluach had his first career double-double with a season-high 23 points and a career-high 10 rebounds as New Mexico dominated the boards Saturday night and beat Colorado State 77-65.
New Mexico did not put together any large runs in the first half, just slowly pulled away from the Rams, taking a 35-27 lead at halftime.
The Lobos pushed the lead into double figures early in the second half before Colorado State (12-17, 7-9) cut it to 51-42 with 12 minutes left.
That’s when New Mexico went on an 11-0 run capped by a Jackson 3-pointer.
The Lobos had a 47-25 rebounding advantage, including 17-4 on the offensive glass. That translated into a 14-6 Lobos’ edge on second-chance points.
Points in the paint, however, were fairly even at 42-36 in Colorado State’s favor mainly because Rams center Nico Carvacho finished with 22 points.
Colorado State came into the game on a three-game win streak, offsetting a three-game losing skid. The Rams still have their sights set on sixth or seventh place in the conference, which would not be terrible because it would give them an opening round game against either Wyoming or San Jose State, and keep them on the other side of the bracket from the top seed.
Although New Mexico had lost three in a row and seven of nine coming in, it still harbors hopes of sneaking past Boise State into eighth place or even Colorado State into seventh.
Colorado State on Tuesday hosts Utah State, which moved into first in the conference Saturday with an 81-76 win over No. 12 Nevada.
New Mexico is at home Wednesday against Boise State.