New Mexico Lobos vs. Colorado St. Rams Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 21st 2024

Colorado State is the latest Mountain West team to rejoin the AP Top 25, jumping back in at No. 22 this week heading into a Wednesday game at New Mexico.

New Mexico (20-6, 8-5 Mountain West) is out of the rankings for the second straight week after climbing as high as No. 19 on Jan. 29.

Colorado State (20-6, 8-5) was ranked for seven straight weeks and eight weeks overall earlier this season, rising as high as No. 13 on Jan. 1.

San Diego State, back in the Top 25 this week at No. 19, and Utah State are other Mountain West programs that have been in and out of the poll.

The Rams were out of the Top 25 the past three weeks before winning five of their past six games, including a 75-55 win over Utah State on Saturday in Fort Collins, Colo.

Power forward Joel Scott finished with 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Colorado State.

His presence inside made up for the Rams shooting 4-for-23 (17.4 percent) from 3-point range.

The Rams had a 48-26 scoring advantage in the paint and finished with a 45-32 rebounding edge.

“I think establishing something in the paint is a big deal,” Colorado State coach Niko Medved said. “You can live by the 3, die by the 3, and we didn’t do either, which was great.”

Nique Clifford had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Rams, whose 14 offensive rebounds led to 18 second-chance points.

“Sometimes I think it’s really good to set that physicality tone, be that rebounding or getting to the rim and scoring a little bit,” Scott said. “I think it’s a group effort. I don’t think it’s necessarily all me who sets it like that.”

Isaiah Stevens led Colorado State with 18 points while contributing eight assists. His two 3-pointers in the game increased his career total to 236, a program record.

New Mexico is coming off an 81-70 loss at San Diego State on Friday, a result that snapped the Lobos’ four-game road winning streak.

Jaelen House scored 22 points to lead New Mexico. JT Toppin added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Mustapha Amzil finished with 10 points and a season-high 11 rebounds.

Toppin achieved his ninth double-double of the season, extending his school freshman record.

New Mexico committed 19 turnovers but recorded 11 steals.

It was the Lobos’ 11th game this season with 10-plus steals, one away from the program mark for single season, established in 2004-05 and matched in 2019-20.

“If we don’t play good offense, we are going to let them get out on the break,” New Mexico coach Richard Pitino said. “We had some silly turnovers and they will capitalize on that. We need to be more efficient offensively, with six assists and 19 turnovers.”

New Mexico lost its previous game against Colorado State 76-68 on Jan. 2 in Fort Collins.

Colorado State shot 53.6 percent from the field in the second half and wound up with an 18-4 edge in points from the foul line.

Patrick Cartier led the Rams with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field in that contest, while Clifford finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Toppin paced the Lobos with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Cartier played through ankle soreness against Utah State last weekend after getting hurt in the previous game at San Diego State. He finished with seven points, five rebounds and four assists against the Aggies.

–Field Level Media

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