New Mex­ico at North­ern Ari­zona To­day, Flagstaff, 2 p.m., 610 AM/95.9 FM

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS -

What you need to know about North­ern Ari­zona: The ’Jacks have shown im­prove­ment in Payne’s sec­ond sea­son and can give op­po­nents fits when their 3-point­ers are fall­ing. NAU hit 15 of 20 from be­hind the arc in an 86-73 home win over Fresno State in Novem­ber but its shoot­ing has cooled re­cently. The ’Jacks shot just 28.3 per­cent from the field in a 65-54 loss at Colorado State this week. Sev­eral play­ers have solid 3-point per­cent­ages but Paplow is NAU’s most ver­sa­tile per­former and an on-court leader. The ’Jacks do not of­ten press be­yond half­court but they’re an up-tempo team and will run when pos­si­ble. There’s not much height in the start­ing lineup, so re­bound­ing can be a prob­lem. What you need to know about New Mex­ico: The Lo­bos will try to build on a five-game win­ning streak in the first of two straight road games. Pace has been cru­cial to UNM’s suc­cess this sea­son as it racks up lots of fast-break points but has shot er­rat­i­cally from 3-point range (29.3 per­cent). Everett (15for-32) has been the Lo­bos’ only consistent threat from 3-point range. But UNM has done a solid job in transtion and its half-court de­fense has been much im­proved this sea­son. Robert­son, Everett and Nunn have com­bined for 33 steals, and Lobo op­po­nents are av­er­ag­ing 19.7 turnovers per game. UNM has had its own turnover is­sues (18 per game) but av­er­aged just 11.5 in its two most re­cent games.

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