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Emptying the notebook: Furstinger on being able to talk to his coach and other odds and ends from UNM’s win over Fresno State

Here are some notes, quotes, videos, tweets and other items that didn’t make it into print in Sunday’s Journal after Saturday night’s 95-86 UNM Lobos win over Fresno State in overtime in Dreamstyle Arena:

Some senior moments

All three Lobos seniors — Joe Furstinger, Antino Jackson and Sam Logwood — gushed over the bond they have with teammates and coaches during postgame senior night ceremonies on Saturday night in the Pit.

Paul Weir, citing one of his favorite coaches, Bobby Knight, talked about how the players are people he coaches for four years and once they’re done playing, they become friends, and he’s looking forward to lifelong friendships with all three.

But, it would seem the seniors already feel the bond.

In his postgame press conference with media, Furstinger was first what he would remember most about his senior season.

“Just how fun it was and how close everybody on this team is,” he said. “I love everybody on this team. I love all the coaches. They don’t know how much they actually mean to me. This is, honestly, the best time in my life right now.”

But then, despite the best efforts of his sports information director to have him stay on message and not get too reflective of things in the past, the 6-foot-9 forward who rode the bench most of his first three seasons while playing for Craig Neal before becoming arguably the Lobos most valuable player in this 2017-18 season, let fly as telling a comment as anything all season about the culture shift he and his teammate feel they’ve experienced.

“The last coach never believed in me,” Furstinger said. “Never trusted me. Ever since coach Weir came in, he’s been 100 percent with me. I actually can have a conversation with my coach now. Like, the first time I got called into coach Weir’s office, I thought I was going to get yelled at and cussed out at. Then we actually had a conversation. I was like, what is this? I’ve never been a part of this. I’m actually having a conversation with my coach where I’m not getting cussed out? I love coach Weir. He honestly means so much to me.”

Game story

The deadline was tight. The game ran long anyway and then went into overtime. Then there was the senior ceremony after. So, with all that said, here’s the game story I filed Saturday night that appeared in Sunday’s Journal:

Attendance

The announced attendance on senior night for UNM was 13,069, which is the second largest announced crowd of the season.

Saturday’s crowd pulls the average home attendance for the season in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit to 10,883. That should be good for 33rd in the nation, but it still marks the lowest average home attendance in the history of the Pit (52 seasons).

As noted in an attendance article last week in the Journal, the good news for UNM is that the number is trending upward. Non-conference average attendance, despite the huge draws at the gate of both instate rival New Mexico State and nationally-ranked Arizona, average significantly fewer fans per game as league play as fans started to jump on board the bandwagon late.

• Non-conference avg. attendance (8 games): 10,469
• Conference avg. attendance (9 games): 11,251

Some pics

Here is a tweet with a few pics from Journal star photographer Roberto E. Rosales:

Also, HERE is a link to a photo gallery Roberto posted online.

So, about that athletics deficit…

In her first week on the job, new UNM President Garnett Stokes took in the Lobos game. And for part of it, first-year UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez joined her.

Were they talking hoops or finances?

Meanwhile, in San Diego…

The only team hotter than the Lobos, who have won five in a row heading into the Mountain West Tournament, is the San Diego State Aztecs, who have won six in a row. And on Saturday, they knocked off No. 21 Nevada, the regular season champs.

SDSU’s win gave them the No. 5 seed and means on the top half of the MWC Tournament bracket are Nevada, UNLV and San Diego State, three teams generally regarded as teams UNM would rather avoid if possible in the tournament as long as possible.

Mountain West scores

On the final night of Mountain West regular season play, there were five games. Only Colorado State, which ended its regular season with the loss to UNM in Fort Collins, had the night off.

• Air Force 83, San Jose State 61
• Boise State 95, Wyoming 87
• New Mexico 95, Fresno State 86 (OT)
• Utah State 79, UNLV 67
• San Diego State 79, No. 21 Nevada 74

Mountain West standings/seeding

And here’s how the Mountain West Tournament bracket shakes out, released in a video by the Mountain West office:

Final stat sheet

Here’s the final stat sheet from Saturday’s overtime game:

Postgame press conference

Here is video of Paul Weir addressing reporters after the Lobos win as posted on the Albuquerque Journal’s Facebook page:

Need a ride?

The “Tix for Kids” bus ride to the Mountain West Tournament is available again this season.

Fans interested in a bus ride to Las Vegas, Nev., can contact Bobby Aragon for package details. For a ride only, fans can pay $175. For ride plus three night hotel stay at Circus Circus for one person it’s $295 or $375 for double occupancy rooms.

Game tickets are not included in the packages.

Contact Aragon at (505) 980-4579 for more information.

Podcasts galore

I posted two podcasts in the past few days. Give a listen to any of the Talking Grammer podcasts by visiting our podcast home page HERE. Or, here are the two I posted in the past few days:

Grammer’s Guesses

The Guesses went 3-2 on Saturday, ending the regular season 55-41-3 in picking Mountain West hoops games against the Vegas point spread.

Not bad.

Unless you compare it to the dang coin from daughter’s piggy bank. The coin went an amazing 5-0 on Saturday and finished up regular season play 61-35-3, again making big winners out everyone who bets on #TeamCoin.

Even before Saturday’s games ended, she had already clinched the season title against her old man, who you would think might have some idea what he’s doing and could beat the randomness of a coin flip. Or you would hope.

Like any good hoops championship, she and her piggy bank celebrated by cutting down the nets in our house.

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