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Emptying the notebook: Furstinger’s homecoming block party, odds and ends from UNM’s win at SJSU

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Here are a few notes, quotes, tweets, videos and whatever else I could find that didn’t make it into the Journal’s print edition after Saturday’s 71-68 Lobos road win over San Jose State:

Joe’s homecoming block party

Lobos senior forward Joe Furstinger had a solid homecoming against San Jose State on Saturday.

Furstinger, who was born in San Jose and lived there until he was 6-years-old, told me he had nine family members in attendance, including his parents.

I didn’t see any flexing like Furstinger often does, but after each of his big plays — he had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and tied a career-high with four blocked shots — his family could be heard going crazy sitting behind the Lobos bench.

Throwing a block party in his birth town seems to be something Furstinger enjoys.

He’s played in San Jose twice: Saturday (four blocked shots) and on Jan. 23, 2016 (four blocked shots).

So, that’s an average of 4.0 blocked shots per game in San Jose for Furstinger’s career. Anywhere else, Furstinger is averaging 0.8 blocks.

Game story

Here’s the game story I wrote from San Jose that had a heavy does of Sam Logwood closing out the game in style for the Lobos in his return.

He said it

“We want to turn them over, which will create possessions, but they’re getting the offensive rebounds, which is kind of countering that. That’s really the game, here. Can we turn them over more than they can get offensive rebounds?”
–Paul Weir, UNM coach referring to his team forcing 25 turnovers on Saturday, but having that negated by SJSU grabbing 14 offensive rebounds in the game.

Dane struggling

Yes, he’s still doing some other things to help his team. That is why Dane Kuiper continues to be a starter for a team that picks its starters by deflections.

But the Kuiper shooting struggles continue. The junior guards stat line on Saturday: 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist in 15 minutes.

And the shooting numbers? He was 1-of-7 shooting and 0-for-6 from 3-point range. That give Kuiper a four-game stretch of being 0-for-17 from 3-point range.

He wasn’t the only one struggling from long range on Saturday as starting point guard Chris McNeal, coming off a 21-point game on Wednesday, was 1-for-6 from 3-point range and Antino Jackson in his return may have had 17 points, but did so on 3-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

Weir noted the offense really struggled once Jackson and Sam Logwood were in the game together in the first half, but then those two found their stride at a time when Kuiper and McNeal just couldn’t buy a bucket.

“They hadn’t been playing with these guys and I think they were just a little bit off,” Weir said of Jackson, who served a one game suspension earlier in the week, and Logwood, playing for the first time since Jan. 3. “So I thought our offense kind of hit (the wall) there in the middle of the first half. But I thought as the second half kind of wore on, I thought we got into a little bit better of a rhythm. Both of them did. … And then, shoot, if Chris (McNeal) or Dane (Kuiper) can make a couple of those shots, we’re probably not even talking a ton about how close the game was.”

On their way to the game

I took a walk around Silicon Valley on Saturday morning before the game and, between seeing about five different Tesla buildings in the area near my Fremont, Calif., hotel, I ran into these guys, who were clearly on their way to the game.

Oh, that second quarter

No, men’s college basketball doesn’t have quarters. It’s the only level of basketball, men’s or women’s, international or domestic, that still breaks its game into two halves rather than four quarters.

But if it did, the Lobos would know where their problem was on Saturday.

Score by “quarters” (every 10 minutes) in the UNM vs. SJSU game:

1st quarter: UNM 21, SJSU 8
2nd quarter: UNM 15, SJSU 31
3rd quarter: UNM 15, SJSU 9
4th quarter: UNM 20, SJSU 20

UNM holding SJSU to 8 points in the “first quarter” snapped a 21-quarter stretch that the Spartans had not been held to single digits. The last time SJSU had been held to single digits in a quarter was when SDSU held them to 6 points in the “third quarter” (the 20 minute mark down the 10 minute mark of the second half) on Jan. 9 at San Diego State.

That the Spartans had two such quarters vs. UNM on Saturday shows the Lobos were pretty good on defense, for half the game, anyway.

Larry, oh Larry

If you haven’t heard, Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy, the most popular opposing head coach in every Mountain West arena, was placed on administrative leave on Saturday and it appears his days at CSU are numbers.

For all the latest, I’ll just post the tweet from the Denver Post on their update, written by Matt Stephens:

Fan Cake!

Sports writers out west who have covered San Jose State games in the past know there’s only on Sports Information Director around who can deliver quite like the great Lawrence Fan.

I was lucky enough on Saturday to have one of the Mountain West’s hidden gems: Fan Cake!

Maybe they were eating cake?

OK, so the Fan Cake was great. But the actual fans on Saturday? Well, the announced attendance at the Event Center was 2,151. Here’s a look at some video of the arena during the game’s first media timeout.

Final stat sheet

The good old fashioned box score stat sheet handed out to media after the game…

Take care of business at home

The top three teams in the Mountain West standings — Nevada, Boise State and New Mexico — are now a combined 16-0 in home games during league play.

The other eight teams in the league have a combined home record during conference play of 16-26.

The Mountain West’s home court win percentage in league games is 55.2 percent, which ranks 28th out of 32 Division I conferences.

Meanwhile, back in Albuquerque…

For the first time all season, the UNM Lobos men’s basketball team and the UNM Lobos women’s basketball team won on the same day.

Meanwhile, in Laramie…

And why are the Lobos alone in 3rd place today? That would be thanks to the most Mountain West of Mountain West games on Saturday.

Fresno State, the team that had lost two games in a row, went to Laramie, Wyo., and blew out the Wyoming Cowboys, the team that had won four games in a row, including home court wins against the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the league, Nevada and Boise State.

Meanwhile, in Boise…

Don’t ever forget to add at least an extra half hour to your DVR when recording sporting events!

Don’t worry. I’ll let you know how it ended in the next section…

Saturday’s Mountain West scores

There was a full slate of five games in the Mountain West on Saturday with the off team being Utah State:
• Fresno State 80, Wyoming 62
• New Mexico 71, San Jose State 68
• Boise State 93, UNLV 91 (OT)
• Nevada 76, Colorado State 67
• San Diego State 81, Air Force 50

Mountain West Standings

Here’s what the Mountain West standings look like through Saturday’s games…

And for those of you who like the old plus/minus standings (plus-1 for a road win/minus-1 for a home loss):

Fran is a fan of Forbes

Remember back in April with Paul Weir got the UNM Lobos job? Among the other finalists for the job was Steve Forbes, the head coach at East Tennessee State University. In fact, he was a popular pick among many Lobo fans.

Well, as happy as Lobo fans seem to be with Weir, it looks like they might have been in good hands, too, with Forbes. He has led his Buccaneers to a 21-4 overall record, they’ve won 15 straight and are 12-0 in the Southern Conference. He’s putting together in the Southern Conference about the same type of season Weir was putting together at New Mexico State at this time.

And who else is taking notice and now going on the campaign trail for Forbes? None other than former Lobos coach Fran Fraschilla:

Postgame interview with Weir

Here’s the postgame interview I recorded with Paul Weir and posted to the Journal’s Facebook page:

Grammer’s Guesses

Man, am I good at this, or what?

To be honest, I’m still above .500, so I’m not doing awful in picking games against the spread. But what’s up with the coin from my daughter’s piggy bank? I think it’s time to stop letting her flip the coin.

The Guesses went 2-3 on Saturday, making my record in picking MWC games against the spread 28-27-3.

The damn coin, though, went 4-1 and is now 32-23-1 on the season.

And for those scoring at home…

And, yes, the coin is making the Mountain West Great Again!

Until next time…

My empty arena pic, this time from the Event Center at San Jose State University.