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Emptying the notebook: Simons’ comeback, odds and ends from UNM’s win over CSU

Here are some more news, notes, tweets, videos and quotes from Saturday’s 80-65 UNM win over CSU in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit that didn’t make it into the Journal’s print edition:

Look who’s back

Troy Simons missed five games before returning to the Lobos lineup on Saturday.

He had been ejected, twice, in the team’s first 16 games and was suspended for the Jan. 6 game against San Jose State by the league for those two ejections.

But Lobos coach Paul Weir decided more was needed and decided to keep Simons out of game action until he took some time away from the team to work on his on-court anger management. While Weir said the word suspension was harsh, it was, in fact, a suspension from playing until he met some benchmarks set by the head coach.

“We talked a lot about it two days ago as a team,” UNM coach Paul Weir said. “I just said, ‘Hey, I’m ready to do this. Troy’s done all the things I’ve asked him to do.’ I gave them a story that Carlton Bragg’s high school coach game me about General Dempsey and not giving up on his soldiers and shared that with them and explained I’m ready. They said they were ready. And I said to make that step, we were all going to have to be really locked in because we didn’t really know what the reception Troy was going to get. We didn’t know how the game was going to go. It’s very easy to maybe point fingers at him even when it wouldn’t be on him. … For him to play well made it even sweeter.”

Simons not only returned on Saturday, but made a huge impact on the game with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of- 5 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line) and four steals. The truth is, he poked away a ball in the first half that he probably should have been credited with a fifth steal (third in the first half), but finishing with four steals in just 17 minutes on the court was certainly impactful enough.

Added senior point guard Antino Jackson, “I’m really happy for him because he deserves it. He took a little time off and I think he gets it now. I think he’s going to be a big part of this journey.”

The game story

Here was the game story written from the Pit on Saturday that did end up going into the Sunday edition of the Journal:

He said it

“I think it’s awesome. I think sports is an amazing thing, particularly in America, college sports is an amazing thing to be a part of. Rivalries, things like this, it’s what makes it fun. I’m glad there was a little bit of that going on tonight. I think it’s healthy for the game as long as it never crosses the line. So it was kind of cool. It was a nice kind of addition to the game.”
— UNM coach Paul Weir when asked about CSU coach Larry Eustachy waving to fans as they booed him before the game

More than a game

Lobos associate head coach Chris Harriman tweeted a picture before the game on Saturday reminding people the Coaches vs. Cancer games going on around the country with coaches wearing sneakers to try and raise awareness of research efforts for the disease most definitely hits home for him and many others.

More than a game, Part II

Former Lobo Hugh Greenwood also had a reminder about some of the stories behind the cancer awareness games taking place…

Worth 1,000 words

The Journal’s Roberto E. Rosales is one of the best photographers out there. Here are some of his pics from Saturday in a tweet…

And here’s a link to more posted in the photo collections on the Journal’s website: UNM/CSU photo gallery


The announced attendance for Saturday’s Colorado State at UNM men’s basketball game in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit: 12,438

That is the third highest announced home attendance for a Lobos games this season and the new high for a Mountain West game.

UNM’s top five announced attendances in the Pit this season are:
1. Dec. 16 vs. Arizona: 13,207
2. Dec. 9 vs. NMSU: 12,768
3. Saturday vs. CSU: 12,438
4. Jan. 20 vs. SDSU: 11,418
5. Jan. 6 vs. SJSU: 10,799

Final stat sheet

Here’s the final stat sheet, as handed out to press row after the game (though it was later corrected to include the technical that was called early in the game on Colorado State’s Raquan Mitchell):

Meanwhile, in Fort Collins…

The UNM men’s and women’s basketball teams have still not won on the same day this season.

And here is the write up that published in Sunday’s Journal:

Meanwhile, in Fresno…

The team UNM plays next (Utah State in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday) upset Fresno State on Saturday night in the Save Mart Center, allowing UNM to move into third place all alone in the Mountain West standings at 6-3.

Utah State gave the game-winning shot the Celine Dion treatment because, of course they did.

Mountain West scores

There were five Mountain West men’s basketball games on Saturday with league-leading Nevada the only team having the day off. Here are the scores:
• Wyoming 90, San Jose State 86 (OT)
• Utah State 65, Fresno State 62
• New Mexico 80, Colorado State 65
• Boise State 70, Air Force 64
• UNLV 88, San Diego State 78

Mountain West standings

Here are the Mountain West’s men’s basketball standings through Saturday’s games, which marked game No. 9 for the Lobos, or the half way point of the 18-game league schedule.

And for those interested in the plus/minus standings (plus-1 for a road win/minus-1 for a home loss):

Postgame press conference

Paul Weir talks to the press about his team’s win, his red sweater and the return of Troy Simons.

Meanwhile, in Japan…

Former Lobo Alex Kirk keeps leading his Alvark Tokyo team to more wins. Alex had 40 points on 14-of-16 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds in a win Saturday.

And, as the tweet below clearly says, Alex is good.

Um, coach?

Auburn’s Bruce Pearl is obviously taking the tough love approach with his players.

Grammer’s Guesses

Good news/bad news on the Guesses for Saturday.

The coin from my daughter’s piggy bank did not gain any ground on me, but that’s only because both my highly-respected, educated picks and the chance of the coin flip both went 2-3 against the point spread for Saturday’s five Mountain West games.

I’m now 24-23-2 on the season and the coin now has a record of 26-21-2.