Emptying the Notebook: UNM loses to Colorado in the Pit, 78-75 - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: UNM loses to Colorado in the Pit, 78-75

Here are some extra notes, quotes, videos, tweets and whatever else I found in the old notebook after Tuesday’s 78-75 Colorado win over the UNM Lobos in Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit:

But it started so well…

It’s hard to argue that the Lobos got off to an uncharacteristically great start on Tuesday.

They had a big lead early, a welcome sight after their previous three games found them trailing to start the game 11-0 at Bradley, 11-0 at New Mexico State and 19-4 vs. Saint Mary’s in Los Angeles.

From the opening tip, the pressure defense led to a steal, which set up a fast break and an alley-oop dunk, all the sort of things the Lobos’ system is supposed to have happen several times a game, not once every few games.

The Lobos led by as many as 17 points (32-15) with 7:07 left in the opening half and still carried a 43-34 lead into halftime.

All that said, the Lobos second half was, frankly, bad. After forcing 12 first half turnovers, there was only one more committed by Colorado in the second half and the Lobos’ 45.7 percent shooting in the first half was matched with a 37.1 percent clip in the second half.

Weir was clearly annoyed on Tuesday about a lot of things, one of them being the recent criticism, and articles in the Journal, about the slow starts the team gets off to. His most defensive has been when talking about his starting lineup scheme that determines the first five players on the court based on deflections from the previous game (I often interchange his use of the word “deflections” with “hustle plays” because he counts such things as charges taken and diving for loose balls, regardless of whether there is an actual deflection).

The point being, he wants his teams to focus on those things first and foremost, so he bases his starting lineups on that. And the criticism about the slow starts to games that many associate with that philosophy clearly has been bothering him.

“I’ve never seen a stat in the history of basketball that talks about whether the beginning of a game means anything at all,” Weir said. “It probably gets talked about to you guys from other people, early leads mean nothing. We’ve had two good early leads this year and they both ended in losses. I’m not really into that as far as what that means for the rest of the game.”

Welcome back Corey

Corey Manigault, the Lobos 6-foot-9 junior forward who missed last week’s loss to Saint Mary’s after throwing a punch in a pregame incident in the previous game at New Mexico State, returned to the court for the Lobos on Tuesday. NMSU has chosen not to suspend senior Eli Chuha, who first threw a punch in the incident.

Manigault finished with 8 points, five rebounds and drew four charges in just 13 minutes, 40 seconds on the court. His struggles, clearly, were around the rim, where he had three shots blocked and he shot only 3-of-10 (all 2-pointers), easily the most shots he’s missed in a game.

The gamer

Here was the game story I filed from the Pit, which was very different in the closing minutes of the game compared to what I ended up writing after Paul Weir’s postgame walk-off interview. The reason? Paul Weir has never done anything like that. The most remarkable thing about Tuesday’s game, and what will be remembered a year from now, won’t be the close loss to a now 8-1 Pac-12 program, but the frustration boiling over for the program’s young and usually even-tempered head coach.

Frustration boils over after Lobos blow lead to Colorado

Final stat sheet

He said it, Part 1

“He’s a great coach. He blames a lot of the coaching on him. We’re the ones out there playing, you know? We have to put forth the effort. He has a right to be upset like that.” — Lobo senior Dane Kuiper after his head coach, Paul Weir, left the media room abruptly

More from Kuiper and fellow senior Anthony Mathis can be seen in video links below, as can the postgame presser for Weir.

Meanwhile, at the Palestra…

The Lobos were looking for some Pit magic on Tuesday. Instead, a future home opponent of theirs (Dec. 22) found what they call a little Palestra magic.

Around the Mountain

There were two Mountain West hoops games on Tuesday, and both featured MWC schools hosting Denver/Boulder area programs.

Denver/Boulder 2, Mountain West 0

The scores:
• Denver 90, Wyoming 87 (OT)
• Colorado 78, New Mexico 75

The Bill Walton experience

Love him or hate him, Bill Walton is a thing all his own.

The polarizing commentator and basketball hall of famer was courtside in the Pit on Tuesday and his call of the game, along with Roxy Bernstein on the play-by-play duties, was a unique side show, indeed.

Sports Editor Randy Harrison offered his take of the Walton experience with a column HERE.

But as Twitter often does, we also had real time commentary on Bill’s commentary.

Here is a sampling…

Announced attendance

The announced attendance for Tuesday’s game, which included free tickets to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, was reported by UNM to be: 10,800

UNM’s home attendance this season through four home games:
• 14,393 – Nov. 17 – vs. New Mexico State
• 11,266 – Nov. 24 – vs. UTEP
• 10,800 – Tuesday – vs Colorado
• 10,188 – Nov. 13 – vs. Iona

Plus/minus stats

Here are the Lobos’ plus/minus numbers from Tuesday’s game:

4 Makuach Maluach
2 Anthony Mathis
1 Karim Ezzeddine
0 Drue Drinnon
-1 Vladimir Pinchuk
-2 Corey Manigault
-3 Tavian Percy
-4 Vance Jackson
-6 Dane Kuiper
-6 Keith McGee

Number to know: 7

Lobo senior guard Anthony Mathis tied a career high with seven made 3-pointers in Tuesday’s game. He finished with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting (7-of-10 from 3-point range) and added five rebounds and two steals. Not a bad bounce back from an 0-for-8 3-point shooting game against Saint Mary’s on Friday and a 1-13 3-point shooting two-game stretch last week.

Paul Weir postgame presser in parts

Not sure why my phone turned off on my mid-video, which it hasn’t done before in a couple seasons of recording these videos, but it did. So, you get two parts of Paul Weir’s postgame presser.

Part two is the one where he walks out of the press room:

Another number to know: 6

Lobo freshman point guard Drue Drinnon continues to develop nicely, posting a career-high six assists in Tuesday’s game to go along with two steals and he drew three fouls in 26:28 on the court.

Drinnon has now started four of the past five games for the Lobos.

Seniors talk

Here is the postgame presser for Lobo seniors Dane Kuiper and Anthony Mathis:

He said it, Part 2

“We gutted out a win when we didn’t play our best offensively. Didn’t shoot the ball well from 3. Missed a lot of shots in the lane. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the free throw line. And we found a way to win. And this was the best game New Mexico has played.” — Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, who must not have watched the Dec. 1 road win for the Lobos at Bradley, in which the Lobos played much better than they did against his Buffaloes on Tuesday.

Boyle had agreed to the two year home-and-home series with UNM with his friend of former Lobos coach Craig Neal. CU also beat Weir and the Lobos in last year’s first part of the two-year agreement in Boulder.

KenPom update

Not that some fans care, but the computers that sort of look at games like Tuesday’s without any feeling or emotion actually didn’t see any pieces of the sky falling in Albuquerque on Tuesday night.

The Lobos entered the game ranked 158 out of 353 Division I teams on KenPom.com entering the game, which the KenPom computers predicted would be an 87-82 Colorado victory.

After the 78-75 CU win, the Lobos actually inched up the ranking to 156. CU entered the game ranked 60 and stayed in that spot.

Beating the traffic

Weir wasn’t the only one who just got up and left when he felt it was time.

Up next…

Sunday: Central Arkansas at UNM, 2 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 770 AM/94.5 FM

Of note in that game: The return of former Kansas Jayhawk Carlton Bragg.


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