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Emptying the Notebook: Lobos lose at UNLV

Here are some more notes, quotes, tweets, thoughts, stats, videos and whatever else I could find in the old notebook after Tuesday night’s 74-58 UNLV win over the UNM Lobos in the Thomas & Mack Center:

Tough enough?

Are these Lobos tough enough?

They got off to a good start on Tuesday. They had an early lead. They addressed everything they failed at in the second half of the Jan. 8 loss to UNLV in Albuquerque. Things were looking good.

Then, it happened. Again.

A slow, steady run by an opposing team just kept growing into a real problem without anyone on the Lobos roster either being able or willing to stop it.

And as much as some fans are criticizing Paul Weir for the struggles of this team (and he’s the coach, so fire away), there are also a dozen players on the roster not exactly doing the things that players on winning teams do, either. And I’m not the only one to notice.

JaQuan Lyle, the Lobos junior guard who ruptured his Achilles in the offseason and is out for the season, tweeted the following from back home in Albuquerque after Tuesday’s game: “At some point, you gotta show you got heart and fight!!!!! Smh.”

I asked Weir after Tuesday’s game if his team is tough enough to either play from behind or even stop a scoring run like the Rebels used late in the first half to take control, for good, of the game.

I’ll go ahead and post the entire answer here, though it is long:

“That’s a great question,” Weir said. “We just talked about it now (in the locker room). I told the guys this is probably as perplexed as I’ve been with all the things that we’re trying to do to get more out of this team as far as things I’ve done motivationally, things we’ve done technically. All the different things we’ve tried to get a reaction out of this team — and I think we’ve had some at times. But we haven’t been able to get there consistently enough to where it’s like, ‘OK. This is a really tough, good, sound basketball team.’

“Last year’s team got there. Unfortunately this year’s team just has not got there yet. But we have shown our flashes, but we have yet to do it anywhere near as consistently as we need to (do it) to be a credible team in this conference. And, as a result, right now we’re not.”

I then asked Weir what’s next? Since the team made numerous adjustments since the first UNLV game a couple weeks ago, what might he switch up now moving forward?

“I’m going to continue to do whatever switch I think might be able to bring that out of this team,” Weir said. “And like I told the guys, I think at some point, as much as I’m going to continue to do that, we’re going to need something from within. … At some point, as much as I hate to say it’s about them, we’re going to need that at some point. Hopefully it can come from within and that would allow us to turn our season around at some point.”

The gamer

Due to a late start (8 p.m MT), long game and long postgame talk Paul Weir had with his players in the locker room, my gamer filed from the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday night for online and the print edition had no quotes. Sin City may not sleep, but it hasn’t figured out a way around deadlines.

So, here was the gamer filed from the arena on Tuesday night with quotes added later by me that will appear online only:

How sweep it is

Tuesday’s win for UNLV marked the first season sweep of the Lobos for the Rebels since Lon Kruger’s team did it against Steve Alford’s UNM squad in the 2010-11 season.

A number to know: 6

The Lobos followed up Saturday’s season high in assists vs. a Division I opponent (20 vs. Wyoming) with a season low (6).

Another number to know: 23

UNLV scored 23 points off 14 UNM turnovers compared to the Lobos scoring two points off 11 UNLV turnovers.

Coaches vs. Cancer

There was a cool moment at halftime of Tuesday night’s game, which was a Coaches vs. Cancer game in which both coaching staffs wore tennis shoes in what, most who follow college hoops know by now, is an annual event in which they try to raise awareness for cancer research.

At halftime on Tuesday, the public address announcer asked anybody in the stands who has ever been affected by cancer, either directly or through a family member or friend, to turn on the light on their cell phones. This was the result:

Rollin out the red carpet

As good as that halftime scene was with the lights, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that it was great imagery because the lights were out.

The announced crowd of of 8,432 at the Thomas & Mack Center was, well, not great.

Here was the scene a few minutes before the game as they rolled the red carpet out for the Rebels to take the court:

Plus/minus numbers

Here are the plus/minus stats for Tuesday night’s game for Lobos players with time played in parenthesis:

+1 Vladimir Pinchuk (11:36)
0 Vance Jackson (28:56)
-3 Corey Manigault (21:08)
-6 Dane Kuiper (20:43)
-9 Tavian Percy (7:03)
-11 Makuach Maluach (22:11)
-16 Anthony Mathis (36:34)
-17 Carlton Bragg (28:24)
-19 Keith McGee (23:25)

Meanwhile, in the Clune of Doom

So, just how good was that win at the Air Force Academy for the UNM Lobos on Jan. 2? You remember, the one a lot of fans were grumbling about because it wasn’t a blowout for the Lobos?

Air Force improved to 3-1 at home in Mountain West play with a 74-60 win over Boise State on Tuesday at Clune Arena on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Since struggling to score on UNM in that Jan. 2 loss (the Lobos won 65-58), Air Force has won its past three home games by an average score of 81-65.

Oh, but who have they done it against, you ask?

• 62-48 over San Diego State (thats 48 points for the same SDSU team that put up 97 last week on the Lobos)
• 106-88 over UNLV (that’s 106 points scored on the same UNLV team the Lobos managed just 58 against on Tuesday)
• 74-60 over Boise State (no Lobo comparison here as the two teams haven’t played yet)

Around the Mountain

There were three Mountain West games on Tuesday night and two more on Wednesday:

TUESDAY:
• Air Force 74, Boise State 60
• UNLV 74, New Mexico 58
• Fresno State 66, San Diego State 62

WEDNESDAY:
• San Jose State at Wyoming, 7 p.m.
• Colorado State at No. 7 Nevada, 9 p.m.

Mountain West standings

Here are the Mountain West standings through Tuesday (alphabetical, no tie breakers):
5-1 Fresno State
5-1 Nevada
5-1 UNLV
4-2 Utah State
3-3 Boise State
3-4 Air Force
3-4 New Mexico
2-3 Colorado State
2-3 San Diego State
0-5 San Jose State
0-5 Wyoming

Meanwhile, at halftime in Vegas

It’s Vegas. You know it’s going to be a show at halftime, right?

That’s so Mountain West

With a pair of games decided by double figures on Tuesday, here is the updated stat that I can’t get enough of this season:

• 32 Mountain West games played
• 27 have been decided by 10 or more points
• 5 have been decided by single digits

Postgame interview

Here is my postgame interview with Paul Weir in a crowded hall way outside the team locker room (apologies for the moving camera as I had to keep moving to get out of the way of people walking by).

Up next

Saturday: Utah State at New Mexico, 2 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 770 AM/94.5 FM

Hall injured

Referee David Hall was kicked in the hand making a foul call on Tuesday, was injured and left the game, leaving a two man crew the rest of the night.

First off, I sincerely hope Dave is OK. I know people think I dislike him. Not true. But I do have some fun when he and several other Mountain West officials find themselves on a very regular basis stopping games to stand in front of video monitors for in-game reviews that slow things down so much I decided a couple seasons ago to make it a drinking game.

That, for those who don’t know, was what started the Twitter game around the league of #Drink anytime there’s a video review in a college basketball game now. It’s mostly from MWC games, and most followed with an image of refs standing at a video monitor.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s picking up.

As Hall was injured, and the other referees were having to go to the monitor to see what their colleague had even called, the CBS Sports Network crew had a camera right on me during the key refereeing moment of the game.

So, cheers!

And, again, please get well soon, Dave.

Final stat sheet

Here’s the final stat sheet from the game:

Grammer’s Guesses

The Guesses, and my daughter’s coin, went 1-2 picking games against the point spread on Tuesday night. A couple more games to pick on Wednesday.

The Guesses are now 18-14 ATS on the season. My daughter’s coin flip is now 16-16 ATS.

Until next time…

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