Through an exhibition game with BYU, two closed-door scrimmages and Saturday’s season opener against an NAIA school, the University of New Mexico Lobos (2-0) had checked a lot of team-goal boxes.
They were playing fast, getting the number of possessions they wanted.
In two of those four settings, they hit the number of 3-pointers they wanted.
Each time out, the team’s intense pressure defense hit the goal of forcing at least 20 turnovers.
But there was one benchmark it hadn’t hit. Until Tuesday night.
The 19 offensive rebounds the Lobos grabbed in the 103-71 victory over Omaha in Dreamstyle Arena marked the first time, according to Lobos coach Paul Weir, that the team had reached its goal for 15 offensive rebounds in a game.
“We’d been at 12. We’d been at 13,” said Weir. “But we haven’t quite hit 15. We’ve been spending a lot of time on rebounding in practice.”
Senior Sam Logwood had a team-high five offensive boards on Tuesday, and UNM scored 16 second-chance points in the game.
Offensive rebounding can, at times, be a deceptive statistic when looking at raw numbers and not considering the number of possessions in a game or how a team is shooting.
Based on tempo-free metrics that adjust statistics to show what would happen if every team played a 100-possession game, Weir’s New Mexico State Aggies a season ago ranked 21st of 351 Division I teams with an offensive-rebound rate of 35.5 percent. UNM ranked 255th at 27.0 percent.
Weir believes he has the team in place now at UNM to also be good at offensive rebounding.
“When Sam and Joe (Furstinger) and Jachai (Simmons) and Troy (Simons) really go to the glass, I think they’re athletic, they’re active and they can make some things happen,” Weir said.
MORE ON TROY: Of Simons, the former junior college scoring champion, Weir said his athleticism sneaks up on people because of his size. That helps, obviously, with the offensive rebounding, but also with his ability to be a nuisance on the Lobos’ full-court pressure.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Weir said. “I don’t think people really think that at 6-foot-2, he can do the things he can, but as far as a player on a particular side on our press, it’s really hard to inbound the ball on his side of the floor. He covers so much ground. He’s got long arms.
“And he’s the best jumper I’ve probably ever coached in a tight space. The best jumper I ever coached was a one-foot jumper, Daniel Mullings (the former four-year-starting guard at NMSU), who could take off from anywhere. But in a tight space, Troy’s able to go up with a vertical that I’ve never had (on a team) before, and it’s impressive the way he can finish at the back end of our turnovers.”
ON CONNOR: After Tuesday’s win over Omaha, Weir said senior forward Connor MacDougall’s progression from an ankle sprain and bone bruise suffered in an Oct. 27 exhibition against BYU took longer than initially thought, but he is now close to returning.
It isn’t clear if he will suit up for Friday night’s game at New Mexico State.
“(He) had his probably best physical workout (Tuesday),” Weir said. “When he first got hurt, I was under the impression, he was under the impression, the trainer was under the impression it was really only going to be a few days, and it clearly hasn’t been only a few days. That wasn’t me being dishonest or anything of that nature. It’s just what we thought at the time, and it’s honestly turned into two and a half weeks later. I am hopefully he’ll be back pretty soon.”
Friday: UNM at New Mexico State, 7 p.m., AggieVision, 610 AM, 1150 AM