Emptying the Notebook: Lobos lose to North Texas, 74-65 - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Lobos lose to North Texas, 74-65

Here are some extra notes, quotes, stats, tidbits, tweets and videos that didn’t make it into print after Tuesday’s hoops game in Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit, a 74-65 Lobos loss to North Texas:

Some boos from the stands

As the final buzzer sounded on Tuesday’s 75-65 North Texas win over the UNM Lobos in the Pit, there were some boos.

Not a ton. And not nearly as many as there were for Craig Neal’s teams late in his final two seasons, but for the first time under Paul Weir, there were boos. For those scoring at home, that’s 10 games into his second season after having so much praise heaped on him for taking a preseason ninth place team a year ago to third place in the Mountain West Conference and had them ride a seven-game winning streak late in the season to the MWC Tournament championship game with a trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line.

That there are already boos is not a great sign, it’s also not surprising in the new era of sports fandom where everything is either the team is great or the coach should be fired. There is little middle ground in 2018.

But don’t count Weir among those who thing the boos aren’t warranted. He says he gets it.

“Those boos, trust me, I feel the exact same way,” Weir said. “Hopefully there’s enough time left we can still turn this and we can turn those boos into cheers.”

Earlier in his postgame presser, he was asked if there was an “easy fix” for what ails the Lobos right now.

“Easy fix? Probably not. I don’t think anything’s really easy. Fixes are hard. It takes work. They take culture. They take a lot of different things that go into it. I’m trying to work on as many of those as I possibly can. I’ve tried to coach this team in a lot of different ways. But, quite frankly, I’ve just not been able to emotionally connect with this group yet. And I’ve got to find a way to do that.”

What Weir didn’t do on Tuesday that he had done on more than one occasion after losses was apologize to fans. He seemed to realize that, while appreciated initially, the multiple apologies in the first month of the season was starting to rub people the wrong way, maybe even a bit insincere.

So, he’s still taking the blame and empathizing with the frustrations of the fans, but he likely won’t be apologizing after many more losses.

Number to know: 11

Anthony Mathis’ 11-for-11 free throw performance was the second most made free throws this season without a miss among Mountain West teams. Wyoming’s Justin James had a 13-for-13 night on Nov. 14 vs. Grambling.

The gamer

Here is the game story filed from the Pit on Tuesday night that appeared in most paper around the state on Wednesday morning…

North Texas comes up big in flustering Lobos in Pit

Trouble at the rim

As the game story focused almost exclusively on, the Lobos, despite being the much taller team than the North Texas Mean Green, struggled to score at the rim and struggled to defend near the rim.

Frankly, it’s weird to watch.

Here was one example of them not struggling…

… but those were few and far between.

Here is the shooting break down for the two teams:

North Texas
2-point FGs: 23-39 (59.0 percent)
3-point FGs: 6-17 (35.3 percent)
Free throws: 10-14 (71.4 percent)

New Mexico
2-point FGs: 9-21 (36.4 percent)
3-point FGs: 7-23 (30.4 percent)
Free throws: 26-31 (83.9 percent)

And how does that affect some of those national rankings? UNM now ranks 350th (out of 353 Division I prorgrams) in the percentage of points it gets per game off of two pointers (39.1 percent with the national average being 49.4 percent).

Dane on the mend

Senior guard Dane Kuiper, who has been hampered since October practices began, with injury after injury and tried playing through them, was in street clothes on Tuesday when Weir, after consulting with the team trainer, decided to shut Kuiper down for awhile just to rest.

Kuiper started practices in the fall with a back injury that kept him off the court, injured his shoulder in the Cherry-Silver game and has had growing knee pain in recent games the Lobos think just need rest.

“The kid just needs some rest,” Weir said. “He’s got some nothing significant. I talked with him (Monday) and said maybe we just need to shut it down for awhile. If you watch the film of our last game, he just looks a shell of himself right now. His knees are bothering him. I just felt like it was time for him to get some rest for awhile and see if we can eventually get Dane back — the Dane we know. I don’t want him going out there every night at less than 100 percent and not giving us what we really need. I’d rather rest him for awhile and then when we get Dane, we get all of Dane.”

Weir said a decision about the senior’s status for Saturday’s game against Penn has not yet been made.

He said it

“We try to dictate tempo and it’s not always easy to do to them because they speed you up. But we had 10 days to prepare. When you have 10 days to prepare for a game like this, then you can have good set up going into the game. We were able to talk about tempo. You face a team like this on a couple day preparation and it’s a total different ball game.” — North Texas head coach Grant McCasland

Meanwhile, in other New Mexico news…

New Mexico’s own Chevel Shepherd of Farmington won NBC’s The Voice on Tuesday night.

Plus/minus stats

The Lobos plus/minus stats for Tuesday night’s game, this time with minutes played in (parenthesis) after the player’s name to add a slight bit more context:

+9 Karim Ezzeddine (27:28)
+8 Vance Jackson (28:45)
0 Carlton Bragg (27:04)
-1 Keith McGee (24:00)
-5 Tavian Percy (3:26)
-7 Anthony Mathis (34:23)
-8 Vladimir Pinchuk (11:50)
-11 Makuach Maluach (17:37)
-11 Drue Drinnon (11:49)
-19 Corey Manigault (13:38)

Meanwhile, in California…

They may not have won, but after a pair of wins entering Tuesday’s game, how about the oft-criticized San Jose State Spartans, who were 18-point underdogs, going to Stanford and giving the pPac-12’s Cardinal all it could handle? The Spartans had it down to a one-possession game with 20 seconds left, down three before losing by 5.

Around the Mountain…

There were two Mountain West hoops games on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s scores:
• North Texas 74, New Mexico 65
• Stanford 78, San Jose State 73

Wednesday’s games:
• Cal at Fresno State, 7 PT/8 MT
• Boise State at Loyola Marymount, 7 PT/8 MT

Moment of silence

There was a pregame moment of silence for former UNM Lobo student Penny Marshall on Tuesday night.

Announced attendance

The announced attendance for Tuesday’s UNT at UNM game was 9,944.

That is the lowest of the season for the Lobos.

What did fans think?

Here is a random sample of Lobo fan reactions on Twitter, good and bad.

Another number to know: 20

The Lobos committed 21 turnovers on Tuesday night. It was the first time in the Paul Weir era, UNM has actually lost a game when committing 20 or more turnovers.

Oddly enough, the Lobos were 4-0 before Tuesday when reaching the 20-turnover plateau (2-0 last season and 2-0 this season).

One more from the peanut gallery

For starters…

Tuesday’s starting lineup was Drue Drinnon, Keith McGee, Makuach Maluach, Karim Ezzeddine and Corey Manigault. For Drinnon, the most regular starter of late for the Lobos, that made four consecutive starts and six in UNM’s past seven gams.

Here is a list of the number of wins as a starter each Lobo has this season and the player’s total number of starts:

Anthony Mathis: 4 wins / 5 starts
Vladimir Pinchuk: 4 wins / 8 starts
Drue Drinnon: 3 wins / 6 starts
Vance Jackson: 3 wins / 5 starts
Makuach Maluach: 3 wins / 6 starts
Dane Kuiper: 2 wins / 3 starts
Jordan Arroyo: 2 wins / 2 starts
Karim Ezzeddine: 1 win / 4 starts
Corey Manigault: 1 win / 3 starts
Keith McGee: 1 win / 5 starts
Tavian Percy: 1 wins / 3 starts
Carlton Bragg: no starts yet

Final stat sheet

Here is the final stat sheet, as tweeted from press row right after the game ended:

Up next

Saturday: Penn at UNM, 2 p.m., TheMW.com (online only), 770 AM/94.5 FM

Coach, player postgame video

Here is a video from the Journal’s Facebook page of both Paul Weir and senior guard Anthony Mathis talking to reporters after the game:

One last number to know: 0

The Lobos led UNT on Tuesday night for a grand total of zero seconds.

It is the third game this season the Lobos have never held a lead, including the 100-65 loss at New Mexico State and the 85-60 loss to Saint Mary’s in Los Angeles.

On the bright side…

At least the managers managed to protect the home court.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

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