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Lobos blow late lead, lose cool in loss to Boise State

VIDEO 1: Postgame melee on Bob King Court

VIDEO 2: Postgame press conference with Paul Weir.

The team that had been winning with poise lost it Tuesday night.

On their home court, in front of their home fans and with a chance to make a statement about their legitimacy in the Mountain West Conference on the line, Paul Weir’s Lobos looked rattled, frustrated and nervous down the stretch.

And if coughing up a 13-point lead and allowing Boise State to score the final eight points of the game in the final 53 seconds for a 73-71 win wasn’t bad enough, a near brawl broke out on Bob King Court in the moments after the game with players from both teams shoving one another and coaches, support staff, security and game officials trying to separate players.

“What happened at the end of the game was completely unacceptable,” Weir said. “I apologize to fans, to the Mountain West, to Boise State University, their whole staff, their program. I didn’t see everything that happened, but just completely unacceptable behavior. I am sick about it — as sick as I am about the game. That’s really not how a game like this should end. …

“I hope that’s not indicative of our institution or this program. That was just uncalled for on a lot of levels and I’m extremely disappointed about it.”

The loss drops UNM to 12-13 overall and 7-5 in Mountain West play. Boise State improves to 20-4 and 10-2 in league play.

Lobo players were not made available to media after the game and Weir said he had not yet spoken to game officials. He also said he understood there could very well be punishment handed down from the league, himself or both once film of what happened is reviewed.

“I don’t know what happened under there. I got spit on,” said Boise State coach Leon Rice, though he said he wasn’t sure by whom. “It just seemed like everybody was holding each other back. I was just trying to get my guys out of there and up the ramp.”

The Lobos losing their cool as the final buzzer sounded in front of an announced Dreamstyle Arena crowd of 11,357 was only the end of a slow building train wreck of miscues for the team that on Jan. 3 lost to Boise State by 28 points but controlled Tuesday night’s rematch almost for the entirety.

UNM led 36:28 of the game, including by as many as 13. With under a minute to go, UNM still held a six point lead at 71-65.

Then, the wheels that Weir said he thinks he started to see coming off around the 6-minute mark — about the same time Boise State star Chandler Hutchison went on a personal 7-0 scoring run that cut a 12-point UNM lead to five at 64-59 with 6:06 remaining — came unhinged in a painful way.

Chris Sengfelder hit a 3-pointer with 53 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 71-68.

The Lobos milked clock before a Troy Simons turnover with 24 seconds left led to a Hutchison breakaway dunk for 71-70, UNM leading with 22 seconds left.

Then, as the Broncos pressed, Lobo Anthony Mathis lost the ball in the lane under BSU’s basket, right into the hands of Hutchison for an uncontested layup and a 72-71 BSU lead, the team’s fist since it was 6-5 in the first three minutes of the game.

Antino Jackson missed a 3-point attempt with 14 seconds left, the Lobos fouled Justinian Jessup, who hit one of two free throws with 9.1 seconds left and gave BSU a 73-71 lead.

When Mathis missed a layup as time expired, the shoving began, and the story of the embarrassing Lobos collapse became an afterthought.

“Just a really bad half of offensive basketball and unfortunately a really poor night on the glass,” Weir said, referring to BSU outrebounding UNM 41-26, and scoring 14 second-chance points off 14 offensive boards.

Hutchison had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four steals while Sengfelder led all scorers with 24. UNM had three players in double figures, led by 17 from Mathis.

 

 

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