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Emptying the notebook: Odds and ends from UNM’s loss at Air Force

Here are some notes, quotes, tweets, videos and other odds & ends that didn’t make it into print after UNM’s Saturday afternoon loss to Air Force, 100-92:

Another senior moment

Lobo senior forward Joe Furstinger apologized on Twitter to fans and teammates (and Boise State’s Marcus Dickinson) for the hard foul attempt/dirty play at the end of Tuesday’s loss to Boise State.

Furstinger was tweeting that apology from home in Albuquerque while the Lobos, in what has become an unfortunate pattern for them, were again playing a game with a new lineup and trying to mix and match new parts after another key player was suspended.

Between Furstinger’s one-game suspension from the Mountain West Conference (Lobos coach Paul Weir said he would have suspended his senior had the league not) and 6-10 freshman Vladimir Pinchuk getting into early foul trouble and playing just 7 minutes all game, the Lobos had nobody to protect the rim, leading to the Air Force layup line in the second half.

But maybe more troubling for UNM was the reality that it seems to now have very little on-court chemistry. In the past six weeks, the team has suspended three seniors — Furstinger, Antino Jackson and Sam Logwood — and junior guard Troy Simons for various reasons, and working them in or out of the lineup has made it hard to get much cohesion on the court.

“We’ve had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup lately and I think it’s affected our offense and our offensive flow,” Weir said. “But, even aside from that, it’s more just the chemistry as a group that we have to get back.”

Players sure make a coach look smart when they play well and the team wins games

Players can also make a coach look pretty bad at his job when they continue to do things that leave them unavailable to even play games and help their team.

Game story

Here is the game story that was posted Saturday afternoon and the version that will publish in the Sunday Journal print edition:

Autism Speaks

The UNM and Air Force coaching staffs, as well as most around the country during Saturday’s slate of college basketball games, wore special blue puzzle piece pins to raise awareness for Austism.

To learn more, visit AutismSpeaks.org

Century mark

Many asked, so here you go…

The last time Air Force, which actually scores more than most fans realize in recent seasons under head coach Dave Pilipovich, reached the 100 point plateau in a game was just earlier this season when the Falcons beat NAIA Johnson & Wales 111-68. Air Force also reached 100 points last season against an NAIA school.

The last time the Falcons scored 100 points vs. a Division I opponent was in the 2016 Mountain West Tournament loss to UNLV, 108-102, but that was in triple overtime.

As for 100 points Mountain West regular season play? Yeah, Saturday was the first time Air Force ever did that.

Calling foul(s)

There were 53 fouls called by the three-man officiating crew of Larry Spaulding, Rick Bastell and Brad Gaston on Saturday at Air Force. UNM was called for a season-high tying 26, and Air Force was called for 27.

This tweet from Belin Tsinnajinnie summed up the thoughts of many who watched the game…

Half time entertainment

I’m surprised they didn’t call a foul on this…

Attendance

The announced attendance at Saturday’s UNM vs. Air Force game in Clune Arena was: 2,851

Final stat sheet

Here is a picture of the final stat sheet from Saturday’s game in case any of you fans of the Lobos, of defense or of fouls want to frame it.

The Third Verse

Here is the traditional playing of the Third Verse after Air Force games.

Postgame interview

Here is video of my postgame interview with Lobos coach Paul Weir after his team’s loss at Air Force.

Meanwhile, back in Albuquerque

Another day, another Lobos split with the men’s team and women’s team still sitting on only one day this season in which they both won games.

And here is the game story from the Journal’s Ken Sickenger:

Meanwhile, down in Las Cruces…

The Aggies won again, though had to come from behind against a down Grand Canyon team to do it. But they survived and are now 9-0 in WAC play and 22-3 overall (19-3 vs. Division I teams).

And Jemerrio Jones, the best player the country hasn’t heard of, had his THIRD-CONSECUTIVE game with 20 or more rebounds. He’s 6-5. That’s sort of ridiculous.

And, the Aggies did it all in front of an announced crowd of 12,989 as part of the program’s third annual Pack the Pan Am game. It seemed to work.

Meanwhile, in Logan…

Boise State’s stay in the top spot of the Mountain West standings was a short one. They lost to Utah State and Nevada blew out San Diego State to regain first place.

Next man up

Coaches always tell their players, “Next man up” when it comes to new players having to step in for injured or otherwise missing teammates.

The same goes for coaches.

Larry Eustachy is on administrative leave at Colorado State. As of Saturday, so too was associate head coach/interim coach Steve Barnes. So, Jase Herl got the call to coach the Rams, and he led them to a 90-79 win over San Jose State.

Mountain West scores

There were five Mountain West games on Saturday with only Fresno State on a bye. The results:
• Air Force 100, New Mexico 92
• Colorado State 90, San Jose State 79
• Nevada 83, San Diego State 58
• UNLV 85, Wyoming 70
• Utah State 71, Boise State 65

Mountain West standings

Through Saturday’s games, here are the Mountain West standings, and it is worth remembering the Mountain West Tournament is less than a month away. The top five seeds get a buy into the quarterfinals while seeds 6-11 play an extra game:

Grammer’s Guesses

Am I good at this, or what?

At least I kept telling myself that even though the dumb luck of the coin was beating me, I was still doing OK picking games against the spread as I was a solid four games above .500 on the season.

Yeah, then came Saturday. The Guesses went 1-4 and I am now 33-32-3 on the season. Still winning. Yay, right?

Not so fast.

That damn coin is just laughing at me at this point. The coin from my daughter’s piggy bank, which she flips for every game, went 3-2 and now has a season record against the spread of 39-26-3.

For entertainment purposes only!

How good are the coin’s picks this season? San Diego State super fan Thomas Sholan, a die hard member of The Show, put $5 down on a parlay bet in Reno on Saturday taking all the same teams the coin picked.

While he could have turned that $5 into $115 if the coin went 5-5, the coin was just 3-2. That’s still better than my picks, but not enough to win the bet.

Until next time…

My empty arena pic didn’t really happen on Saturday since the Air Force wrestling team had use of Clune Arena after the basketball game and was already setting up when I filed my story and hit the road north for Denver to catch a flight home.

Nevertheless, I took a picture of the arena before I left and also added an empty arena pic first for me. I snapped a shot of the Academy’s indoor track & field arena located just down the back hallway of the Field House where the basketball game was played. So…

Until next time, Clune Arena and the United States Air Force Academy.

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