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Emptying the Notebook: UNM beats up on ailing Wyoming

Here are a few extra notes, quotes, tweets, videos and whatever else I emptied out of the old notebook after Saturday’s 83-53 UNM Lobos win over the visiting Wyoming Cowboys in Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit:

Bragg got going a bit

Despite another game with far too many turnovers (19 to be exact), the Lobos were able, finally, to get Carlton Bragg going a little bit in the post, including several post entry passes that actually got to him.

The result? Bragg tied a UNM high with 16 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting in 24 minutes, 37 seconds on the court. He was 2-of-2 from the free throw line, grabbed five rebounds and added three blocked shots and two steals.

“I still have a long ways to go,” Bragg said when asked after the game if Saturday was a breakout performance, of sorts. “But it’s not about me, it’s about the team. … Coming together and helping us grow.”

Weir said there’s never been a question about Bragg’s ability to have games like that on Saturday, but again spoke about the teams’ general inability to get him the ball in the post.

Of Bragg’s 16 points, the first two came via free throws with 14:20 showing on the clock in the first half. The next 14 points scored were all in the paint with six of the seven field goals coming via assists from teammates in the paint (three Bragg assists came from Makuach Maluach, two from Vance Jackson, and one from Anthony Mathis).

The only bucket Bragg made without an assist was on a tip-back dunk off a miss from Mathis with 18:06 remaining pushing the lead to 47-27.

A number to know: 42

The Lobos had 42 deflections in Saturday’s game. Deflections, Weir has said plenty, is the one stat that is the best indicator of his team’s success, both based on energy they’re playing with and how dialed into the game plan the team is on defense.

In UNM’s nine wins this season, the team has averaged 40.8 deflections per game (it was 40.6 entering Saturday’s game). In UNM’s nine losses, the average is 34.6, including just 31.7 over the team’s recent three game losing streak.

“I think we defended and that’s been a tough go for us this year,” Weir said. “We got over 40 deflections, which is something that’s important to me. I think that was indicative of our energy tonight.”

The gamer

Here is the gamer I filed from the media room in the Pit on Saturday night:

Announced attendance

The announced attendance for Wyoming at UNM in Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit: 11,744

He’s in the books

Rio Rancho High School graduate Clay Patterson, one of two local high school products who are now walk-on, is now in the books as a UNM Lobo, scoring his first two points for the program with a pair of free throws in the final minute of Saturday’s game.

As you can tell from the fans who were still in the Pit, and from the reaction of his teammates on the UNM bench, his points were a big deal.

He said it

“No. We still have a bad taste in our mouths. We’re still hungry.” — Lobos junior power forward Carlton Bragg when asked if Saturday’s 30-point win helped erase the bad taste of that three game losing streak.

No Drinnon

The Lobos played without freshman PG Drue Drinnon on Saturday after he showed signs of a possible concussion on Saturday morning. Drinnon had a hard fall in Thursday’s practice, but was cleared to finish drills that day, practiced again on Friday, but then had symptoms on Saturday morning. Weir said it was more precautionary than anything.

Assists and no assists

The Lobos had a season high (against Division I opponents) with 20 assists on Saturday. Not bad in a game with 28 made field goals. UNM had 29 assists in the team’s Dec. 30 game against NAIA University of the Southwest in Hobbs.

As for the Wyoming Cowboys, they had 10 assists on 19 made field goals. The 10 assists ties a season low for a Lobos opponent (Dec. 11, Colorado also had 10).

That Wyoming had 10 assists on Saturday was almost staggering considering the assist totals for UNM’s previous two games were 26 (Colorado State) and 30 (San Diego State)

On Corey

Once again, junior forward Corey Manigault had an in-game moment that cost him playing time.

While he was all smiles in the second half, laughing with teammates and cheering on the Lobos during the blowout, when subbed for in the first half, he had another reaction, like he has had in past games, that Paul Weir basically said Saturday night he just can’t accept anymore as he doesn’t want one player sucking the energy out of the team.

“I’ve been here many times with you guys with Corey,” Weir said. “I’m trying to coach and teach him the best way I know how. Unfortunately there are times when he gets coached or gets feedback that he does not always respond appropriately. He’s going to continue to pay the same price. Maybe at some point it will turn the corner. I hope it does. But in the meantime, I’m not going to sacrifice a game or him playing for behavior that I think is detrimental to our overall team or culture.”

Meanwhile, in Reno…

Yes, the much-improved Air Force Falcons led the No. 10 Nevada Wolf Pack at half time.

And yes, the still best in the Mountain West No. 10 Nevada Wolf Pack went on to win with relative ease on Saturday night, 67-52, outscoring AFA 47-28 in the second half.

And in the process, Jordan Caroline made ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10.

Around the Mountain

There was a full slate of five games around the Mountain West on Saturday:
• Fresno St 63, Boise St 53
• New Mexico 83, Wyoming 53
• UNLV 94, San Jose St 56
• Utah St 87, Colorado St 72
• No. 10 Nevada 67, Air Force 52

Up next

Tuesday: UNM at UNLV, 8 p.m. MT (7 p.m. PT), CBS Sports Network, 770 AM/94.5 FM

Mountain West standings

Mountain West hoops standings through Saturday:
5-1 Nevada
4-1 Fresno St
4-1 UNLV
4-2 Utah St
3-2 Boise St
3-3 New Mexico
2-2 San Diego St
2-3 Colorado St
2-4 Air Force
0-5 San Jose St
0-5 Wyoming

Again with Dane

As he’s done several times, senior Dane Kuiper quietly set a tone for the Lobos, especially defensively on Saturday.

Here was Kuiper’s stat line, followed by a tweet I had of a frame-by-frame look at a breakaway dunk he had assisted by fellow senior Anthony Mathis, with pics by the Journal’s Roberto E. Rosales.

• Minutes: 29:50
• Points: 10
• Assists: 4
• Steals: 4

Meanwhile, in Laramie…

The UNM women’s team kept things rolling with a win over Wyoming in Laramie on Saturday afternoon.

That’s so Mountain West

Nobody seems to know what this statistic even speaks to, other than it’s so Mountain West.

• 29: Number of Mountain West hoops games played
• 25: Number of Mountain West games decided by 10 or more points
• 4: Number of Mountain West games decided by single digits

Postgame videos, X3

Here are the videos I posted to the Journal’s Facebook page, first of a postgame interview with Lobo players Carlton Bragg and Keith McGee and then of Lobos coach Paul Weir.

Another number to know: 22

Wyoming, a team that doesn’t score a ton in the paint anyway, really couldn’t get it done on Saturday. The Cowboys’ 22 points in the paint on Saturday (UNM had 32) was significantly lower that UNM’s opponents of the past.

Plus/minus stats

Here are the always popular plus/minus stats for the Lobos in Saturday’s game with minutes played in parenthesis:

+28 Dane Kuiper (29:50)
+25 Keith McGee (30:24)
+25 Anthony Mathis (22:58)
+23 Vance Jackson (31:07)
+16 Carlton Bragg (24:37)
+15 Vladimir Pinchuk (13:08)
+8 Tavian Percy (18:14)
+5 Makuach Maluach (20:24)
+3 Jordan Arroyo (2:51)
+2 Clay Patterson (1:53)
0 Corey Manigault (4:34)

Meanwhile, in Morganstown…

Former NMSU Aggie Jermaine Haley, who was recruited by Paul Weir then left and nearly enrolled at Wyoming (enough local ties for you there?) hit the game winner for West Virginia on Saturday to beat Kansas.

Final stat sheet

Here’s the final stat sheet from Saturday’s Wyoming at UNM game:

One thing I tweeted at halftime, and it held true for the entire game, was that the stat sheet won’t tell the story, but freshman Tavian Percy played some real solid minutes for the Lobos, even guarding Wyoming star wing Justin James a lot of minutes in man-to-man in the first half. I plan to write more on Percy, and other Lobos, in the next couple days so I didn’t elaborate more here, but the freshman had a nice game.

Grammer’s Guesses

My daughter beat me on Saturday, going 4-1 with the lucky coin from her piggy bank. I did, OK, at 3-2 in picking against the spread, but she gained a game on me. On the season, I am now 17-12. Her #TeamCoin picks are 15-14.