(25) New Mexico (7-0) at Indiana State (4-1)
Saturday, December 1, 2:05 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: Local. Home Record: UNM 4-0, ISU 3-0. Away Record: UNM 0-0, ISU 1-1. Neutral Record: UNM 3-0, ISU 0-0. Conference Record: UNM 0-0, ISU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: As part of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge, the Indiana State Sycamores welcome the 25th-ranked New Mexico Lobos to the Hulman Center on Saturday afternoon, marking the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
For New Mexico, not only is this the team's first look at the Sycamores, it is also the first true road date of the 2012-13 campaign, with the team having posted four wins at home in as many tries and also rattling off three victories during the Paradise Jam in the middle of last month as well.
Most recently, the squad was in action on Wednesday night as it crushed visiting Mercer, 76-58, in The Pit. The win was the third straight of at least double digits for the undefeated program.
Meanwhile, the Sycamores began the new season on a down note as they suffered an unsightly 86-59 road loss to UCLA, but since then the squad has been perfect. On Sunday, Indiana State ripped off a 76-62 win over High Point at home, which means the Sycamores are now enjoying a four-game win streak overall and have won each of their three home dates.
Against Mercer earlier this week, the Lobos survived 15 turnovers and just 5- of-19 shooting behind the three-point line in order to pick up the 18-point win at home. Alex Kirk put together a huge double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, followed by Cameron Bairstow with 16 points and Tony Snell 13. Kendall Williams, who had scored in double figures in each of the first five games before dipping to nine versus Portland last weekend, missed all five of his field goal attempts as he tallied a mere two points. Because of the last two games, Williams is now second on the unit in scoring with 12.9 ppg, although his 34 assists have helped to balance the scales. Snell (13.7 ppg) and Kirk (11.7 ppg), along with Bairstow (9.0 ppg) have been majors reasons why this group is outscoring the competition at the free-throw line by a whopping 160-68 over seven games.
In a game that saw eight ties and 12 lead changes, the Sycamores needed an incredible 70.0 percent shooting from the floor in the second half in order to dismiss visiting High Point in the last outing. Not only did the hosts knock down 14-of-20 from the floor overall after the break, but the team was a perfect 6-of-6 behind the three-point line in the period as well. Lucas Eitel had a game for the ages as he tallied 25 points on a perfect shooting day, 9- of-9 from the field as he connected on all seven of his triples. Khristian Smith and R.J. Mahurin came off the bench to supply 18 and 10 points, respectively, as well as a combined 11 rebounds for the group. Entering this game Eitel, who set a school record with his precise efforts from long range versus High Point, is currently tied for the all-time mark with eight straight triples made over multiple contests. Not only does he lead the MVC with his staggering 14-of-19 (.737) showing on the outside, but he is also tops in the nation as well.
At some point Eitel will hit a wall, and that could easily happen against a New Mexico team that uses physical play to generate huge point totals at the free-throw line.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 78, Indiana State 66
12/01 10:42:55 ET