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Emptying the notebook: Odds and ends from Saturday’s UNM at Nevada men’s basketball game

RENO, Nev. — Here are a some takeaways, a couple stats and a couple other odds and ends from Saturday afternoon’s Lobos basketball game in Reno, Nev., that maybe didn’t make it in the game story for print:

Well, they had a chance

They did what they said they wanted to do.

The UNM Lobos, using a 10-man rotation with intense defense and high-energy for 40 minutes (though, to be honest, it was one of the least intense fullcourt presses they’ve used this season), said their only hope to have a shot down the stretch was to wear down the short six man rotation of the defending Mountain West champion and current title favorite Nevada Wolf Pack.

That topic was the focus of the game preview article in Saturday morning’s Journal.

And, one could say it worked. The Lobos did, in fact, have a shot down the stretch before losing 77-74 to Nevada.

Nevertheless, that didn’t mean much to Paul Weir, the Lobos first-year head coach who told me he’s “so over moral victories.”

UNM’s bench outscored Nevada’s 45-2 and 10 Lobos played between 10 minutes (Makuach Maluach) and 30 minutes (Sam Logwood). For Nevada, nine players saw action, but three played between 27 seconds (Charlie Tooley) and four minutes (Damien Williams and Elijah Foster, both).

Nevada primarily used a six man rotation with Hallice Cooke playing 21 minutes and all five Wolf Pack starters playing between 31 and 35 minutes.

Weir did say he thought Nevada showed some signs of wearing down in the closing minutes, but clearly not enough for his team to overcome them on the road.

For Nevada, a tip of the cap has the go the Wolf Pack’s way for not only a 2-0 start, but they committed just 12 total turnovers in those wins against two teams with pressure defense (7 turnovers on Wednesday at Fresno State, 5 turnovers on Saturday against the Lobos).

“Fresno and New Mexico turn people over and create steals and we did a phenomenal job in back to back games,” said Nevada head coach Eric Musselman, who said his team’s little bit of practice over the past few days due to illness focused a lot on spacing against UNM’s press.

He also gave much credit to the Lobos for their energy and the fight they showed.

“Both teams played really hard,” Musselman said. “It was good for the 9,000 people to see.”

The final desperation play

Pinned deep in the corner with 2.3 seconds left and trailing by 3, there wasn’t much left the Lobos could do. Here’s a look at what they tried, with a hat-tip to the referees for letting the final play take place right in front of my seat on press row.

A tweet from the Pack

One of Nevada athletic’s more well-known Twitter presences, Mr John C. Fremont himeslf (or @Saturday’sInReno) posted a tweet following the game that summed up the feeling for many as they left the Lawlor Events Center on Saturday:

Updating the #JoeMentum

UNM senior Joe Furstinger had his fourth-consecutive double-double, posting 10 points and 10 rebounds at Nevada.

Again, this is a player who had zero double-doubles, and only one double-digit scoring game, in his first 95 games at UNM before his current streak.

“He’s doing a good job of making himself available in the post,” Weir said. “All our other post players are having such a hard time just getting open and just getting the ball.”

The four-consecutive double-doubles is the most at UNM since former Lobo Alex Kirk had seven in a row (six to open the 2013-14 season and he also had 22 points and 12 rebounds against Harvard in the team’s final game of the 2012-13 season).

In Furstinger’s four-game streak, he is averaging 14.8 points and 11.0 rebounds (4.3 offensive rebounds). But he’s also checking other boxes, averaging in those four games 3.3 assists and 1.0 block.

Elsewhere…

How about this tweet to bring a smile to your face from ETSU head coach Steve Forbes, who was a finalist for the UNM job in April.

Former Lobo Emmanuel Negedu, who played at Tennessee when Forbes was on staff there, is now a United States Citizen.

Attendance

The announced attendance at 9,530 at the Lawlor Events Center on Saturday as a season high for Nevada.

The University of Nevada went heavy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday ticket sale promotions for their first two league games (Saturday and Wednesday’s upcoming home game against Wyoming) to try and account for games where the student body would be gone between semesters.

He said it

“We just didn’t quite get enough stops. We’ve got to find a way to get stops and rebounds to close out a game like that.”
–UNM head coach Paul Weir

Raising Cane

It was a good night for in-game promotions for Nevada fans. After one fan won a $100 rize package to a local casino during a timeout, another fan hit a halfcourt shot for free Raising Cane’s chicken for a year.

Up next for the Lobos

Wednesday: UNM at Boise State, 8 p.m., ESPN3.com, 770 AM/94.5 FM

Speaking of…

League’s best win

The best win of the night in the Mountain West on Saturday was Boise State, UNM’s next opponent, going on the road had being UNLV 83-74 in a game the Broncos out-rebounded the ‘Runnin Rebels 48-29 and preseason MWC Player of the Year Chandler Hutchison went off for 32 points and 12 rebounds.

Mountain West scores

• Nevada 77, New Mexico 74
• Colorado State 59, San Jose State 52
• Fresno State 71, Air Force 59
• San Diego State 79, Utah State 59
• Boise State 83, UNLV 74

Mountain West standings

Here’s what the Mountain West standings look like through the first week of league action.

Grammer’s Guesses

The Guesses went 2-3 on Saturday and are at 5-5, or .500 (like most of the Mountain West) through the first week.

On a side not, the coin from my daughter’s piggy bank went 4-1 on Saturday and is 6-4 on the week, proving again anyone or anything can beat the Guesses.

Final stats

A look at the final stat sheet from Reno.

Postgame interview

Here is video of my postgame interview with Paul Weir, as posted on the Journal’s Facebook page.

Signing off…

As those who follow me on Twitter already know, I usually get one empty arena pic before I leave the place on every road game.

Until next time, Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

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