As New Mexico State coach Chris Jans sat down for a postgame interview Saturday, he cast a wary glance at the scoresheet sitting in front of him, almost in disbelief.
The Aggies (8-2) had just won their third consecutive game, defeating Loyola Marymount 63-58 in Los Angeles.
But to Jans, the numbers just didn’t add up.
“It was not aesthetically pleasing. When you comb through the stat sheet, there were a lot of ugly columns,” Jans said. “Looking at just the stats, you’d be surprised that we won, to be honest with you.
“But they found a way. I’ve been saying that a lot lately.”
The Aggies will look to extend their streak Wednesday night when they play Washington State (7-3) in Pullman, Wash.
Against Loyola Marymount, Teddy Allen had a team-high totals of 12 points and eight rebounds for the Aggies, Sir’Jabari Rice scored 11 and Mario McKinney Jr. came off the bench to contribute 10 points.
There were two columns in the box score that bothered Jans the most: 2-for-16 shooting on 3-point attempts and 26 turnovers that led to 32 points for the Lions.
“In the end, they don’t draw pictures on the scorecard,” Jans said, “but we’re not going to win if we don’t play better.”
The Cougars are coming off a 77-74 loss to South Dakota State on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer Saturday in Spokane.
It was Washington State’s first nonconference loss in December in three seasons under coach Kyle Smith.
Noah Williams and Tyrell Roberts, two of the Cougars’ top three scorers, combined for six points — all in the second half — on 1-for-14 shooting.
“They were a little under the weather, both of them,” Smith said. “They were warriors about it. They did their best to get out there and compete. It was tricky.
“Some others, too, they were hurt and stuff. But no excuses. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to be good enough to find a way there.”
–Field Level Media