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Lobos shoot well in closed scrimmage against Denver

We’ll have to take his word for it, but Paul Weir sounded upbeat when talking about his team’s closed door, private scrimmage with the Summit League’s Denver Pioneers on Saturday afternoon in the Pit.

We don’t know the score or who won. It’s up to coach’s discretion on what information, if any, they release after these private scrimmages, and Weir didn’t release that to the Journal.

But what he did say was good to see was how well the Lobos’ offense played against second-year head coach Rodney Billups’ team that returns five starters and was picked to finish fifth in the Summit League’s preseaosn poll of coaches and media.

“We shot the ball really well for the first time this season, which was very encouraging,” said Weir. “We didn’t shoot the ball well in our first scrimmage and didn’t against BYU. We hadn’t shot the ball well yet in a live competition situation, so today was good to see us do that.”

UNM won, but didn’t shoot well in a closed scrimmage two weeks ago against Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Statistics were not released from that scrimmage, either.

In UNM’s Oct. 27 charity exhibition game against BYU in the Pit, the Lobos shot 37.1 percent overall – 21-of-42 (50.0 percent) inside the arc and 5-of-28 (17.9 percent) from 3-point range.

As for defense, Weir was less thrilled, though still said the team’s turnover count was in the range he expects (he has said he wants opposing teams to have 20 turnovers per game and BYU committed 23 in the exhibition game).

“Defensively we continued doing the things we want to do,” Weir said, “But there were a lot of little mental breakdowns. Our half-court defense was just OK.”

Weir said Chris McNeal, Dane Kuiper, Anthony Mathis and Antino Jackson all made multiple 3-pointers and the team hit a high number of 3-pointers that “were really evenly spread out” over the roster.

The Lobos open the regular season in Dreamstyle Arena Nov. 11 against Northern New Mexico.

MACDOUGALL: Senior forward Connor MacDougall, who played just two minutes vs. BYU on Oct. 27 before spraining his ankle early in the exhibition, was held out of Saturday’s scrimmage, but that might not have been the case if it were an actual game, Weir said.

“He is still exercising, training and working his way back,” Weir said, adding a precautionary x-ray on the injured ankle showed no structural damage and the team is optimistic he’ll be ready for the season.

SEASON TICKETS: Through Friday, UNM had sold 7,840 season tickets for men’s basketball. Last season, UNM had sold 8,805.