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Emptying the Notebook: Lobos get blowout win over San Jose State

Here are some notes, quotes, stats, videos and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Wednesday night’s 92-60 UNM Lobos win over the San Jose State Spartans in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit:

I don’t want to talk about it

If you’re a Lobos basketball player, scroll to the next section.

No, this isn’t some sort of choose your own adventure column, this just isn’t the section you should read. It’s about turnovers. And the first rule (lately) of Lobo basketball is you don’t talk about turnovers.

OK. Are they gone?

The Lobos committed just 10 turnovers in Wednesday night’s 92-60 win over San Jose State, leading to only two Spartans points.

That’s a far cry from the 22 points off 20 UNM turnovers the Nevada Wolf Pack had on Saturday in Reno.

But the reality is, the Nevada game was a hiccup of late for the Lobos, who have been taking care of the ball lately and seem to be doing it by simply not talking about it anymore.

“I’ve tried to stay away from (talking to the team about) turnovers for awhile,” UNM coach Paul Weir said. “I was harping on it so much, I almost felt like it was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. … Really the last four or five games, we don’t even talk about it.”

Turnovers, and the points opponents score off those turnovers, were arguably the biggest weakness for the Lobos in the first half of league play.

But take a look at how things have changed in the past five games compared to the five before that:

In the five games from Jan. 8-22:
• UNM averaged 15.6 turnovers per game
• Opponents averaged 21.8 points off turnovers

In the past five games from Jan. 26-Wednesday:
• UNM averaged 13.2 turnovers per game
• Opponents averaged 11.0 points off turnovers

The gamer

Here is the game story I filed Wednesday night from the Pit that also appeared in print in Thursday morning’s Journal:

A number to know: 35

While the Lobos do actually play at a faster tempo overall than last season, it isn’t always (in fact it seems it’s rarely) about the fast break.

That wasn’t the case on Wednesday.

The Lobos scored 35 fast break points on Wednesday compared to just 2 for San Jose State.

Alley-oop or the dance?

What was better? The Drue Drinnon alley-oop to Keith McGee here, or the celebratory dance moves on the bench from Corey Manigault, who can be seen with his yellow dance shoes on…

Another number to know: 61

From Saturday’s 29-point loss in Reno to Wednesday’s 32-point win over San Jose State, the Lobos had a 61-point swing in scoring margin in its past two games.

I have no idea where this ranks in Lobo lore, this season in college basketball, or whatever. I just know that’s a big swing.

Fight Night

There were several instances of UNM recognizing and honoring members of the local fight community as part of Wednesday’s “Fight Night” promotion (something that should have been going on years ago in this town, which is a fight city if there ever was one).

Before the game, it was Greg Jackson and Holly Holm hyping the crowd. In a first half timeout, they came back out along with Jon “Bones” Jones and teammate Chris Brown to a big ovation. And Holly certainly had fun being a Lobo again for the night.

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Go LOBOS!!! #unm #newmexico #505 #lobos 🐺

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Then, as fight highlights showed on the video board, Johnny Tapia’s family, including wife Teresa, came out on the court on what would have been the 52nd birthday for “Mi Vida Loca.”

And finally, local fight couple Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means and Brenda “Boom Boom” Gonzales-Means were recognized in the second half.

It wasn’t Snake!

There was an incident late in Wednesday’s game where a fan sitting in the student section of the Pit was heckling a San Jose State player (Michael Steadman, who happens to be the Spartans’ leading scorer).

Steadman, frustrated enough by what was happening on the court (he was held to 8 points and zero rebounds), went after a fan at one point, though there isn’t confirmation ony contact was made.

Still, the fan was escorted out of the arena and the SJSU coaching staff decided to take Steadman up to the team locker room.

UNM did not name the fan (it was not super fan Mark “Snake” Tichenor, as some on social media speculated) or say if future action will be taken against him. But UNM did issue this statement:

“There was a situation between an SJSU player and a fan. The assistant coach of SJSU escorted his player back to the locker room before the situation escalated. The fan was escorted out of the arena by the event staff.”

Meanwhile, in San Jose…

The UNM women improved to 20-3 and 10-2 in MWC play with a 79-60 road win over the Spartans in San Jose.

Here are some highlights:

Wednesday marked the sixth time the Lobos men’s team and Lobos women’s team won on the same date this season.

Here’s the list:

• Feb. 13 – both beat San Jose State
• Jan. 19 – both beat Wyoming
• Jan. 5 – both beat Nevada
• Jan. 2 – both beat Air Force
• Dec. 1 – women beat NMSU/men beat Bradley
• Nov. 24 – women beat Houston/men beat UTEP

Announced attendance

The announced attendance on Wednesday night in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit: 10,469

Meanwhile, in Fresno…

Saturday’s Lobo opponent, Fresno State, got all it could handle on Wednesday night. Boise State, a 6.5 point underdog in the game, actually led much of the night and still late in the game before falling 65-63.

Former NMSU Aggie Braxton Huggins led the Bulldogs’ charge with 26 points.

Around the Mountain

There were three games on Wednesday around the Mountain West. Here they are with a peak ahead to Saturday’s full slate of five games:

WEDNESDAY:
• New Mexico 92, San Jose State 60
• Utah State 76, Wyoming 59
• Fresno State 65, Boise State 63

SATURDAY:
• Utah State at Air Force, 2 p.m.
• UNLV at San Jose State, 3 p.m.
• Fresno State at New Mexico, 5 p.m.
• Boise State at San Diego State, 5 p.m.
• No. 7 Nevada at Wyoming, 8 p.m.

Mountain West standings

Here are the Mountain West standings through Wednesday:
10-1 Nevada
9-3 Fresno State
9-3 Utah State
7-4 San Diego State
7-5 UNLV
6-6 Boise State
5-7 Air Force
5-7 New Mexico
4-8 Colorado State
2-9 Wyoming
0-11 San Jose State

*Note: the Lobos still have the easiest remaining schedule in the Mountain West based on the records of remaining opponents.

Kuiper for 3

Lobo senior Dane Kuiper seems to be out of the dreadful shooting slump that saw him miss 17 consecutive 3-pointers between the Jan. 19 game against Wyoming and hitting a corner 3 late in Saturday’s loss at Nevada.

Monday at practice, I saw Kuiper knock down a ton of 3s, as I’ve sen him do plenty in practice during that rough stretch.

Wednesday, he had five assists and three rebounds and hit another 3-pointer.

Another 0-fer?

San Jose State has certainly had a rough go of things since two years ago in the 2016-17 season when it seemed as though it had finally turned the corner under former head coach Dave Wojcik.

Of course, Wojcik left that offseason as did four starters now doing big things elsewhere, like Terrell Brown (a starter an NMSU), Jaycee Hillsman (sitting out as a transfer at Illinois State), Ryan Welage (a rotation player at Xavier, oh and Brandon Clarke, who only happens to be an All-American candidate at Gonzaga right now.

In the past two season, SJSU is now 1-28 in Mountain West games (1-29 if you want to count the Mountain West Tournament loss last March).

And this season’s 0-11 league mark brings into question whether they’ll go 0-fer in the season. Here’s a look at the teams that have gone winless in Mountain West regular season play:

• 1999-2000: San Diego State (0-14)
• 2007-08: *Colorado State (0-16)
• 2008-09: *Air Force (0-16)
• 2014-15: San Jose State (0-18)

*Won a play-in game in the MWC Tournament after a winless regular season.

Postgame interviews

Here was the postgame video I posted of UNM head coach Paul Weir and players Corey Manigault and Keith McGee talking to media after Wednesday’s win:

Plus/minus stats

Here are the plus/minus stats from Wednesday for the Lobos with time played in parenthesis:

+22 – Corey Manigault (19:54)
+22 – Makuach Maluach (22:25)
+19 – Dane Kuiper (21:17)
+19 – Vladimir Pinchuk (15:35)
+17 – Vance Jackson (26:43)
+14 – Carlton Bragg (23:11)
+13 – Drue Drinnon (15:21)
+12 – Anthony Mathis (24:37)
+10 – Keith McGee (19:59)
+5 – Tavian Percy (4:45)
+5 – JOrdan Arroyo (3:33)
+5 – Clay Patterson (2:40)

Again, for those unfamiliar with the plus/minus stats, this is simply a count of what the score of the game did while a player was on the court. If a team’s lead expands by 10 while a player is on the court, that player gets a +10 in this statistic. Or, if a team is outscored by 10 while a specific player is on the court, this stat would be -10.

Final stat sheet

Here’s the final stat sheet from Wednesday:

Bear with me

At halftime, UNM held a teddy bear toss, allowing fans to toss plush stuffed animals onto the court to be donated. Former KOB Sports Director JP Murrieta tweeted a cool pick of the clean up duties.

Up next

Up next for the Lobos is Saturday’s game at 5 p.m. in the Pit with Fresno State.

Grammer’s Guesses

The Guesses went 3-0 on Wednesday and I’m now 34-29-1 picking Mountain West games against the point spread this season.

Unfortunately, things have gone south of late for my daughter’s lucky coin flip picks. #TeamCoin went 0-3 on Wednesday and is now sitting at 29-34-1 against the spread.

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