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Emptying the notebook: Semifinal or not, Lobos still have morning sprints after Wyoming win

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Here are some odds & ends, tweets, quotes, stats and more that didn’t quite make it into print after Thursday’s 85-75 UNM Lobos win over the Wyoming Cowboys in the Mountain West Tournament:

Tourney time doesn’t mean time to rest

The Lobos got to this point with discipline and hard work.

When there was something that needed correction, first-year head coach Paul Weir found ways to emphasize it to his team so they’d understand its importance.

Starting lineups are all about deflections from the previous game or practices, not who scores the most. And when the undersized Lobos started getting hammered on a regular basis on the boards, Weir instituted a policy of the entire team running the morning after games — win or lose — so they never get out of the mindset of how important that is to the team’s success.

He still doesn’t want them forgetting the lesson, apparently, and said he planned on running his team Friday morning despite having the Mountain West Tournament semifinals against Utah State on Friday night. They did, after all, give up three offensive rebounds in the first handful of second half possessions that were costly at moment.

“I thought it (the Lobos’ rebounding, which they held a 38-27 advantage) was great outside of those three offensive rebounds in the first four possessions of the second half really bothered me,” Weir said. “They don’t think they’re running tomorrow, but they are, for the rebounds. That’s something that’s a big key for us. We can’t let teams hurt us on the glass.”

Moments latter in his press conference, I asked Weir if he was being serious about running his team. After a long pause, he said, “Yeah. I am.”

Game story

Deadline was tight, so no time for interviews other than me yelling to ask Antino Jackson over from the court to tell me one thing so I could add it to my gamer in time for print before adding a few other nuggets later.

All important fashion update

It used to be about whether he wore a tie or not.

Then it was the sweater, which Paul Weir wore a few times during the regular season and then revealed he had lost so much weight because he never eats during the season that he was wearing the sweater because he had no suits that fit. But he also hasn’t lost with the sweater on.

So, on Thursday, I naturally asked the hard-hitting question: Would he wear a sweater again for Friday’s semifinal game vs. No. 7 Utah State?

“I didn’t even pack a suit,” Weir said.

Joe knows, the olds guys told him

Seniors Joe Furstinger and Sam Logwood won their first career MWC Tournament games on Tuesday. Here are the previous 6 MWC Tournament results for the UNM basketball:

• 2017-18: 1-0, in semifinals Friday
• 2016-17: 0-1, lost in 4/5 game to Fresno State
• 2015-16: 0-1, lost in 4/5 game to Nevada
• 2014-15: 0-1, lost to Air Force in play-in round
• 2013-14: 3-0, won MWC Tournament
• 2012-13: 3-0, won MWC Tournament
• 2011-12: 3-0, won MWC Tournament

After the game, I asked Joe if he had been told by previous Lobos what it used to be like when the pro-Lobo fans were like coming out to pack the Thomas & Mack each tournament like they pretty much stopped doing the past three seasons.

“I still talk to Alex Kirk, Cam (Bairstow), Hugh (Greenwood), and they said it was crazy when (they were) here,” Furstinger said. “And just how we fill up the Thomas and Mack Arena, all our fans.”

Pit West back?

Here’s video I took of the Lobos taking the floor on Thursday night:

Even before they got there

Even before the Lobos got to the arena, Lobo fans were going crazy for them.

Hurry up and slow down

Number cruncher extraordinaire Ken Pomroy had a nice nugget about the game in comparison to the record-setting 119-114 UNM win in Laramie, Wyo., just a few weeks ago.

Final stat sheet

On Mountain time zone deadline with a Pacific time zone start that was started much later than most games are, anyway, I totally forgot to tweet the postgame, hard copy stat sheet.

So, here you go…

BOX SCORE: No. 3 New Mexico 85, No. 6 Wyoming 75

Meanwhile, at the Orleans…

And how is that other New Mexico hoops team doing in Sin City this week in the WAC Tournament?

Mountain West Tournament scores/schedule

There were four MWC Tournament quarterfinal games on Thursday. Here are the results and Friday’s schedule to follow:

• No. 1 Nevada 79, No. 8 UNLV 74
• No. 5 San Diego State 64, No. 4 Fresno State 52
• No. 7 Utah State 78, No. 2 Boise State 75
• No. 3 New Mexico 85, No. 6 Wyoming 75

Friday’s schedule:

• Semifinal 1: No. 1 Nevada vs. No. 5 San Diego State, 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)
• Semifinal 2: No. 7 Utah State vs. No. 3 New Mexico, 8:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

Saturday

• MWC championship, 3 p.m. (CBS Sports)

Or, wait. Is the final today?

Reno Gazette-Journal writer Chris Murray isn’t making any friends in Logan, Utah, or Albuquerque for this tweet:

The word of Snake

Weir hasn’t promised fans much of anything more than the generic “We’ll work hard” thing all coaches say.

But he did pretty early start saying the team was building toward this very moment — being a team built to be at its best in March to have an advantage over other teams in a format of three games in three days.

So, since he spoke so often about this very moment to his fans, did he feel pressure on Thursday to deliver success?

“Quite honestly, I didn’t feel any pressure,” Weir said. “I haven’t felt any pressure for the last month. Every time Snake comes around to practice, he keeps telling me we’re playing with house money. … We have no pressure, that’s the beautiful part of it, we were 3-8 (in November). Part of the reason I said let’s work for three games in March is because you can’t really say much else in the middle of November when things aren’t going well. And really, that’s what we talked about through that, is this season was going to be a war of attrition.

“I thought by March if we stuck together and we did what we needed to do, other teams would decrease enough that we could catch them. I don’t think we can beat a lot of of these teams that we beat lately (back) in November; San Diego State, UNLV. But my March, the seasons are long enough that those teams maybe can chip away a little bit and have chinks in their armor. And if we can keep grinding away and getting better and getting more together and believing in our style, maybe we could get to a point where we could catch those guys. And that’s really the only choice we had, and now we’re here. And hopefully we can execute. There’s no guarantees but I felt it gave us our greatest probability of success.”

Meanwhile, with a future Lobo…

Lobo prep point guard signee Drue Drinnon had a Twitter message UNM fans might like to see.

An old friend…

Former San Diego State coach Steve Fisher was on hand watching Thursday’s quarterfinal win by the Aztecs over Fresno State.

So legendary was his run through the league for 18 years they named the Mountain West Coach of the Year trophy (the one selected by the league’s coaches) in his honor.

As for the other trophy…

The media poll doesn’t have the same budget as the coaches poll. So, I presented the media coach of the year award to Diet Pepsi lover Eric Musselman at courtside on Thursday. He took a picture of the top-rate presentation of the first-class trophy (a Diet Pepsi can with a hand-written piece of paper taped to it) and posted it on the Muss Bus account for the student fan section in Reno.

Grammer’s Guesses

The Guesses went 1-2-1 on Thursday and are now 4-2-1 in the MWC Tournament and 59-43-4 against the Vegas point spread on the season.

The coin from my daughter’s piggy bank went 2-1-1 on Thursday and is 2-4-1 in the tournament and 63-39-4 against the spread on the season.

My daughter wouldn’t let me bring her lucky coin to Las Vegas, but she did let me bring her piggy bank.

During Thursday’s Boise State/Utah State game, she wanted to check in on it so I FaceTimed her from courtside (an actual violation of the credential agreement I signed to cover the tournament, but don’t tell anyone at the Mountain West or CBS Sports, who have the exclusive broadcast rights to the game).

Until Next time…

It wasn’t an empty arena pic on Thursday (I did one of those on Tuesday). But here was my parting shot for the night on Thursday night after the game.

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