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Emptying the Notebook: Lobos lose at San Diego State

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Here are some extra notes, quotes, tweets, videos and tid bits I found in the old notebook after Tuesday’s 97-77 San Diego State win over the UNM Lobos in Viejas Arena:

Mathis looked for his shot

As UNM senior guard Anthony Mathis started heating up in the first half of Tuesday’s game, one Lobos fan on Twitter posted a picture of what he felt the CBS Sports Network keys to the game should have been

For UNM: “Give it to Anthony Mathis”

For San Diego State: “Stop Anthony Mathis”

Of course, it wasn’t quite that easy. But I’m sure both @noacb_ and the CBS Sports Network crew are regular readers of the Journal and knew that the headline on the sports section of the Journal’s web site all day Tuesday was about UNM Lobos head coach Paul Weir telling Mathis to quit worrying about what people are saying about him playing point guard and just shoot the ball.

Mathis got more help at the point guard spot on Tuesday than in any previous game in Mountain West action as Drue Drinnon (19 minutes played) and Keith McGee (20 minutes played) were each in the game much of the night. As a result, Mathis didn’t seem quite as fatigued as in the second half of last week’s loss to UNLV nor as disinterested in shooting as he did when he took only two shots in the first half of Saturday’s loss to Colorado State.

Mathis in the first half on Tuesday had 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting (all were 3-pointers and he had a free throw). In the second half, it was eight points on 2-of-7 shooting.

“Early for sure,” Weir said when asked if he agreed Mathis was the aggressive scorer the coach had wanted him to be all season. “And then I thought San Diego State did a great job as the game unfolded of just kind of keying in on him. But I thought early in the game, I thought it was a good response to how things have been going for him.”

Up next

UNM hosts Wyoming at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.com with no television option.

SDSU, meanwhile, will already take its second of two bye slots in the schedule before more than half the league, including UNM, has had its first bye. The Aztecs return to action in a week on the road at Fresno State.

The Gamer

Due to the late start (8 p.m. PT/9 p.n. MT), I had to file a quick and dirty game story right after the buzzer sounded, without quotes or anything.

Here is that version:

Trouble in Lobo Land?

Weir would not comment when the Journal asked him about two big men having very visibly bad nights on the Lobos bench.

For those who don’t know, press row at Viejas Arena is the row of seats directly behind the visiting team’s bench. So, throughout the game, the bad body language, complaining, agitation, pouting or whatever it was that Lobo big men Corey Manigault and Karim Ezzeddine had going on were happening right in front of a half dozen reporters.

At one point, Manigault sat at the end of the bench disinterested in talking to teammates or coaches. And with three minutes left in the game, Associate Head Coach Chris Harriman talked briefly with Paul Weir, then went down to the end of the bench where Ezzeddine was standing and Ezzeddine went to the team locker room alone and stayed there until the end of the game.

It is unclear if he was sent there or asked to go there, as one person on press row suggested he thought was the case.

Neither played well on either side of the ball, but neither got many opportunities, either. Manigault played nine minutes, Ezzeddine just three.

Where was the Show?

Those who showed, did their thing. But The Show, the San Diego State student section that just a couple years ago had articles in national publications written about it not only as one of the best student sections in college basketball, but really just one of the best part of college athletics in general, isn’t exactly what it once was.

First, the realities of Tuesday’s game are this: School is not in session, the weather wasn’t great and the Aztecs are hardly what they once were more than a few years ago.

But, I was still legitimately bummed out to see this pregame introduction involving The Show — a pregame that once was 3,000 students strong every night regardless of opponent and intimidated opposing teams like crazy with their bench right next to the students.

Again, props to those who did Show. They’re trying to keep what was one of the games most special traditions alive.

And, besides, how can I not give them some love when they had this sign during a the game when there was a referee video review going on?

A number to know: 30

San Diego State had 30 assists on Tuesday.

THIRTY! On 38 made basketball. That’s three days after UNM allowed CSU to dish out 26 assists on 32 made baskets in that Lobos loss.

That was the most for SDSU in a Mountain West game in the 20-year existence of the league.

Another number to know: 50

The Aztecs scored 50 points in the paint against the Lobos zone defense. It’s become a trend, to say the least, and one I’ll flush out in stories later in the week more than in this column.

But know this…

Postgame Paul Weir interview

Here, as posted to the Journal’s Facebook page, is the postgame Paul Weir interview with several reporters, which didn’t take place until more than a half hour after the game ended.

He said it

“They had played a pressing, aggressive style earlier in the year and struggled with it. You have to realize, this team played zone for 40 minutes against Nevada to give them their only loss of the year, so this is a good basketball team that is on a tough stretch.” — San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher on UNM

Meanwhile, in Monaco…

Recognize anyone in this tweet?

Meanwhile, in Boise…

No. 10 Nevada needed all 40 minutes to do it, but they beat Boise State in Taco Bell Arena, 72-71, thanks to a Cody Martin 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Around the Mountain

There were two games in the Mountain West on Tuesday night, each being broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network, and two more coming on Wednesday night.

TUESDAY
• No. 10 Nevada 72, Boise State 71
• San Diego State 97, New Mexico 77

WEDNESDAY
• UNLV (3-0) at Air Force (1-3)
• Utah State (2-2) at San Jose State (0-3)

Mountain West standings

Here are the Mountain West standings through Tuesday night’s games:
3-0 UNLV
4-1 Nevada
3-1 Boise State
3-1 Fresno State
2-2 Colorado State
2-2 San Diego State
2-2 Utah State
2-3 New Mexico
1-3 Air Force
0-3 San Jose State
0-4 Wyoming

So, about that UNM/Nevada game…

No, not Tuesday’s Nevada game, but that one Jan. 5 in the Pit when the Lobos blew out the previously undefeated Wolf Pack before embarking on their current three game losing streak.

Plus/minus numbers

Lots of discussion recently about whether single game plus/minus statistics tell a whole story.

Here’s the easy answer: They don’t. They, not unlike all stats on a stat sheet, can be deceiving without context. But I will continue to post them each game to show the trend throughout the season of the one stat that, ultimately, is what the game is all about: What happens to the score when a certain player is one the court.

Again, small sample sizes can skew this, but through the course of a season, if a player is at minus-100, then something wasn’t going great for his team whenever he was on the court, and that’s what the stat shows. It’s no more end all, be all stat than scoring or rebounding numbers.

Here are the Lobos +/- from Tuesday with minutes played in parenthesis:

+9 Karim Ezzeddine (3)
+3 Vladimir Pinchuk (14)
+2 Tavian Percy (2)
-1 Jordan Arroyo (1)
-1 Drue Drinnon (19)
-7 Dane Kuiper (24)
-11 Corey Manigault (9)
-12 Carlton Bragg (17)
-12 Keith McGee (20)
-16 Anthony Mathis (33)
-25 Vance Jackson (28)
-29 Makuach Maluach (30)

Final stats

Apparently I never tweeted a picture of the final stats from Tuesday’s game. Here’s a link instead: SDSU 97, UNM 77

Grammer’s Guesses

I didn’t think the Lobos would win on Tuesday, but when the Las Vegas betting line grew to plus-seven, I had to go against my gut (silly decision, especially with a gut like mine).

I picked the Lobos and, as a result, the Guesses went 0-2 against the spread on Tuesday. I’m now 12-10 on the season. My daughter’s lucky piggy bank picks also went 0-2 and her #TeamCoin picks are now 10-12, still two games (just two games?) behind her old man.

Until next time

Until next time, Viejas Arena on the campus of San Diego State University…

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