ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Led by 18 points from Jaquan Lyle, five New Mexico players reached doubles figures Saturday as the Lobos beat Cal State-Northridge 97-70.
Carlton Bragg and Corey Manigault each added 17 points for New Mexico (2-0).
Lance Coleman II scored 19 to lead the Matadors (0-2), with Terrell Gomez chipping in 14.
Despite the offensive outburst, New Mexico coach Paul Weir was more impressed with the defensive effort.
"I do think defensively these guys are hopefully buying into the idea that's what's going to carry us," he said. "We have very gifted offensive players. We know that. I think the other team knows that. I think our players know that. It's going to be a question of how committed to defense can we get. When we can, I think we can be pretty good."
After the Matadors went ahead 26-25 on an Elijah Harkless' jumper with 9:19 left in the first half, New Mexico grabbed control over the next nine minutes with an 18-2 run that included six points from the foul line, taking a 43-29 lead.
"We missed some foul shots and they got loose in the break a couple of times and our defensive transition wasn't near as good as it should have been," said Northridge coach Mark Gottfried. "Those two things were probably the biggest issues."
The game never got closer than 14 points in the second half.
"They (the Matadors) came out with good energy," Weir said. "I think at some point, you could feel them losing a little bit of that. I think that's when we found a little bit of our rhythm and hopefully put our imprint on the game."
New Mexico dramatically cut down on its turnovers from its first game with 10 fewer at 12, while Northridge had 16. New Mexico turned that advantage into a 26-7 edge in points.
And the Lobos held a 36-30 rebounding edge, with Makuach Maluach grabbing eight.
New Mexico shot exactly 60% from the field for the second straight game.
The Lobos also dominated underneath with a 56-24 advantage in points in the paint.
"They got the ball inside," Gottfried said. "That's something we talked about with the team. We did not execute our defense very well."
In taking care of business against Northridge, the Lobos continued to hone their eight-man rotation and their substitution patterns. New Mexico is showing a dangerously versatile and diverse offense that is capable of scoring from the perimeter as well as pounding it in deep.
The Matadors faced a second-straight larger opponent and both times the games were all but decided by halftime. And Auburn looms on the horizon next week.
IT'S ALL ACADEMIC
Top Northridge player Lamine Diane, who was the Big West Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, missed his second straight game because of academic issues. His return to the court is not known, Gottfried said.
HE SAID IT
"As crazy as it sounds," Weir said, "This really isn't about winning and losing as much as it is about trusting our process and continuing to grow."
New Mexico next plays Green Bay on Wednesday in the opener of the Legends Classic Tournament.
Northridge next plays Tuesday at home against Pepperdine.