Albuquerque, N.M. --- It takes something special to go on the road, down into The Pit where New Mexico was 9-2 this season, and come back up with a win against the third-place team in the Mountain West.
Well the San José State men's basketball team put together an extra special performance Saturday and handed the Lobos a 78-68 loss on their home floor in MW play.
Freshman Terrell Brown, in just his second start, showed great maturity and had the nerves of a veteran as he scored a career-high 17 points in front of an announced crowd of 12,731. Ryan Welage finished with a team-high 20 points and hit a handful of the biggest 3-point baskets of his Spartan career.
Then there's head coach Dave Wojcik, who lost his father exactly one week ago, yet was a composed maestro on the sideline guiding the Spartans through a very deliberate half-court offense during the second period.
San José State (11-10, 4-6 MW) built a lead as large as 13 points in the second half, but it wasn't easy. Jaycee Hillsman set the tone with a thunderous one-handed dunk to start the second period. New Mexico's Sam Logwood tied the game for the sixth time, 39-39, on a layup with 16:27 left. Brandon Clarke gave the Spartans the lead back on the next possession, but Lobos star guard Elijah Brown was right there to even the score once again with a contested jumper.
Coming out of a timeout with 10:02 to play, Welage put the ruckus crowd back in their seats with a three from the right wing to give SJSU a 53-49 advantage. A 14-2 Spartans run over the next 4:18 ensued, which included a dunk by Clarke, a layup by Brown, two free throws by Welage and Isaac Thornton's last-second swish from downtown as the shot clock expired. Clarke's layup with 5:50 to play gave San José State its largest lead of 64-51.
From there the Spartans closed out New Mexico (14-10, 7-5 MW) from the free throw line, where they were not very good for the game (17-27), but hit 10-of-14 in the final 3:29. The Lobos cut SJSU's 12-point lead to just five, 70-65, with 1:54 to play. But Hillsman drilled all four of his attempts at the line facing the UNM student section, and Brown made three of his last four.
Welage grabbed a team-high eight rebounds to go along with his 20 points. Clarke scored 13 points in the second half and matched his teammate Brown's total of 17 for the game. Brown played 38 miutes for the second consecutive game, but something he hadn't done before is have five assists and zero turnovers. Hillsman with 10 points rounded out the double-figure scorers for SJSU.
The two teams were tied 35-35 at halftime, as Welage paced the Spartans with 13 points. He knocked down 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the period, two of which were answers to Elijah Brown baskets on the other end.
It seemed like SJSU might be in trouble after the Lobos took a 10-2 lead to begin the game. But Brown made a layup and hit a 3-pointer as part of his 4-for-4 shooting half which helped bring the Spartans back in it.
UNM's Brown led all scorers with 21 points, and Logwood pitched in with 19 points. The Lobos barely edged the Spartans in rebounding, 32-31. San José State turned 14 Lobos turnovers into 23 points, and the Spartans outscored them 36-28 in the paint.
"This will go down as one of the best wins for me. That is for sure," said Wojcik, who wore his father's tie during San José State's first-ever win against New Mexico.
Next up, San José State hosts San Diego State on Tuesday, February 7, at 8:00 p.m. (PT) on CBS Sports Network.
Newspaper Box Score
San Jose State vs New Mexico
02/04/17 4 p.m. MT at WisePies Arena - The Pit
At WisePies Arena - The Pit
SAN JOSE STATE 78, NEW MEXICO 68
SAN JOSE STATE (11-10, 4-6 MW)
Welage, Ryan 7-11 2-2 20; Brown, Terrell 5-9 5-8 17; Clarke, Brandon 8-14
1-6 17; Hillsman, Jaycee 2-4 6-6 10; Thornton, Isaac 3-7 2-2 9; MITCHELL,
Brandon 2-3 1-3 5; Singer, Ryan 0-0 0-0 0; Schwartz, Cody 0-0 0-0 0; JAMES,
Jalen 0-2 0-0 0; Nichols, Isaiah 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-50 17-27 78.
NEW MEXICO (14-10, 7-5 MW)
BROWN, Elijah 6-18 5-6 21; LOGWOOD, Sam 6-10 5-7 19; FURSTINGER, Joe 3-4 1-2
7; HUNTER, Jordan 3-5 0-0 7; HARRIS, Jalen 1-4 2-2 4; MACDOUGALL, Connor 2-4
0-0 4; JEFFERSON, Damien 1-8 0-1 2; UGUAK, Aher 1-1 0-0 2; AGET, Obij 1-3
0-0 2. Totals 24-57 13-18 68.
San Jose State................ 35 43 - 78
New Mexico.................... 35 33 - 68
3-point goals--San Jose State 7-16 (Welage, Ryan 4-6; Brown, Terrell 2-3;
Thornton, Isaac 1-5; Mitchell, Brandon 0-1; Hillsman, Jaycee 0-1), New
Mexico 7-16 (BROWN, Elijah 4-6; LOGWOOD, Sam 2-2; HUNTER, Jordan 1-2;
JEFFERSON, Damien 0-5; HARRIS, Jalen 0-1). Fouled out--San Jose State-None,
New Mexico-MACDOUGALL, Connor. Rebounds--San Jose State 31 (Welage, Ryan 8),
New Mexico 32 (BROWN, Elijah 8). Assists--San Jose State 15 (Brown, Terrell
5), New Mexico 14 (BROWN, Elijah 6). Total fouls--San Jose State 18, New
Mexico 22. Technical fouls--San Jose State-None, New Mexico-None. A-12731