ALBUQUERQUE – Missing four starters for a variety of reasons, New Mexico turned to Zane Martin and Corey Manigault, who combined for 41 points Tuesday to help the Lobos beat San Jose State 86-59.
Neither Martin nor Manigault were starters a month ago when two players were suspended indefinitely. One of those players remains suspended and the other has been dismissed from the team.
But Manigault had 21 points with nine rebounds and Martin had 20 points to lead New Mexico (16-5, 5-3 Mountain West) to a 13th straight home win this season. It is the Lobos’ best start at home since going 16-0 to start the 1998-99 season.
Makuach Maluach added a double-double for the Lobos with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Spartans (6-14, 2-6) were led by Seneca Knight’s 11 points.
The Lobos led by as many as 10 early in the first half before San Jose State cut it to 29-25. But New Mexico went on an 8-0 run to go up 37-25. They led by double digits the rest of the way.
New Mexico lost two starters to injury on its last road trip as Vance Jackson went down with a knee injury and leading scorer JaQuan Lyle suffered a leg injury.
BIG PICTURESan Jose State: The Spartans, picked last in the conference, are fighting to stay ahead of cellar-dwelling Wyoming, which was playing at No. 4 San Diego State.
New Mexico: The prognosis on the return of Lyle and Jackson is uncertain, but neither was originally thought to be seriously injured and both could return soon. The Lobos will need them both when the Aztecs come to Albuquerque on Jan. 29.
UP NEXTSan Jose State: The Spartans are at home Jan. 25 against Air Force.
New Mexico: It will be an interesting reunion Jan. 25 for the Lobos when they play at Nevada and new coach Steve Alford, who used to coach New Mexico. The Wolf Pack staff also includes another former Lobos coach in Craig Neal, who replaced Alford when he left New Mexico for UCLA.