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Emptying the notebook: Martin shows some fire in win over ENMU

UNM Lobo Zane Martin, right, is defended by Eastern New Mexico’s Ibn Zaid during Wednesday’s game in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit . (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Here are some extra notes, quotes, news, tweets videos and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Wednesday night’s 92-71 UNM Lobos win over Division II Eastern New Mexico in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit:

Technically speaking

I’ve mentioned to a Lobo assistant coach, and also posted on social media when asked questions by Lobo fans, that I think junior guard Zane Martin, the transfer from Towson, and sophomore guard Vante Hendrix, the transfer from Utah who will be eligible to join the team after the completion of the fall semester in mid-December, will lead the Lobos in technical fouls drawn this season.

And I don’t mean that as an insult in the slightest.

Both play with passion and fire that, frankly, was lacking from last year’s team. There wasn’t the type of Joe Furstinger momentum changing passion and fire from any player last season, but I think Martin and Hendrix have it, to sometimes levels they can’t control.

I wrote a feature in June on Martin with the headline reading “Martin ready to bring edgy style to Lobos.” So, his getting a technical foul or two shouldn’t be a huge surprise. It’s how he plays — with passion and a lot of talking.

And, yes, when you want a player with fire, sometimes you get burnt.

But a few techs aren’t going to hurt the Lobos overall, assuming they aren’t in key moments.

Wednesday, Martin got off to a head start on technicals on Hendrix with a second half technical called by head referee Eric Curry.

“The technical was about me and a guy — we exchanged words the previous play,” Martin said when I asked him about the infraction. “And then I got fouled. I felt good about myself so I kind of kicked some words back to him.

“But, we do have some guys on this team, we’re competitive. We like to play hard. The background some of us come from kind of comes out during the game, but I feel like we do a pretty good job of keeping it under control.”

As he walked out of the press room I reminded him about my prediction of he and Hendrix picking up plenty. Martin stuck his head back into the press room to say, “That was my only one.”

While he doesn’t plan on getting another technical foul this season, I have my money on several.

Said UNM Lobos third-year coach Paul Weir, “Our team is not lacking for confidence. We just have to find a way that we harness that the right way.”

Martin’s statline was a mixed bag, of sorts. His Lobos debut included 13 points, six rebounds, one steal and he drew five fouls, but he also had six of UNM’s 21 turnovers.

I’ll have more in the next couple days on Martin trying to learn the point guard position on the fly after the recent departure from the team of sophomore point guard Drue Drinnon.

For starters

The first points of the 2019-20 Lobos basketball season were scored by J.J. Caldwell, the new point guard who started his career two seasons ago at Texas A&M.

Bragg’s knee

There was a scare on Wednesday night.

Then there wasn’t.

Carlton Bragg collapsed to the ground after a collision under the Eastern New Mexico basket, clutching his knee and needed help getting off the court. Fortunately for the Lobos, it appears to have merely been a minor sprain and he later returned to the game.

Said Weir after the game: “Unfortunately, I see some demons on injuries these days. I went over there and just initially, just hearing what was being said, I felt comfortable. I think it was just a sprain of some kind. He was cleared to come back in the game and we let him back in the game.”

Before he was hurt…

Here’s a look at what Lobo fans have been dying to see for the past couple years when the big name transfers from big name programs started making their way to Albuquerque to play for Paul Weir.

Here’s a fast break set up by Vance Jackson (UConn), who passed to JaQuan Lyle (Ohio State) who then assisted on the dunk by Carlton Bragg (Kansas).

Speaking of Lyle and Bragg…

The preview article in Wednesday’s Journal was a feature on JaQuan Lyle and Carlton Bragg. It also had an accompanying podcast with it.

Article: Lyle, Bragg follow unexpected path to Lobo leadership

And podcast:


The announced attendance at Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit on Wednesday night: 9,501

Yes, it was against a Division II opponent, but Wednesday wasn’t an exhibition game. It was the regular season opener for the Lobos and, as such, here’s some historical context that you probably won’t see UNM add to its marketing campaign: Wednesday night was the lowest announced attendance for a regular season home basketball game in the Pit since Dec. 22, 2017, against Prairie View A&M.

Up next

The Lobos (1-0) host Cal. State University-Northridge (0-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Pit.

CSUN lost its season opener on Tuesday at Oregon State and appears to be without star forward Lamine Diane, who was last season’s Big West Player, Newcomer and Freshman of the Year. The school has not made an official announcement on Diane, but he did not travel to the Oregon State game.

Diane’s first Division I game was last season when UNM played at CSUN and, as a freshman, the 6-7 forward scored 34 points on 15-of-28 shooting with seven rebounds, four steals and a blocked shot.

Memory lane…

Speaking of that UNM game at CSUN last season…

The gamer

Here was the gamer filed from the Pit media room following the game:

Life on that DII road

UNM paid ENNMU $5,000 for Wednesday’s game, a huge help to the Division II programs across the state and on par with what Western New Mexico University got for playing at New Mexico State on Tuesday and what New Mexico Highlands got for playing at UTEP on Tuesday.

It’s clear, life on the D-II road is hard. And for the Greyhounds, that means sometimes having to borrow the bus from nearby Portales High School to get to games.

Plus/minus stats

You know you’ve missed these.

The plus/minus stats that some people hate me posting because of how deceiving they can be in small sample sizes are back. For those who don’t know, they are simple. What happens to the game’s score when a player is on the court?

Here are the +/- stats for the UNM Lobos from Wednesday night:

+21 Vance Jackson
+20 JaQuan Lyle
+17 Makuach Maluach
+15 J.J. Caldwell
+13 Keith McGee
+12 Corey Manigault
+11 Zane Martin
+9 Carlton Bragg
-1 Clay Patterson
-1 Jordan Arroyo
-3 Tavian Percy
-3 Kurt Wegscheider
-5 Emmanuel Kuac

Final stat sheet

Here is a picture of the final stat sheet from Wednesday’s game:

Meanwhile, in Hempstead, N.Y.

How about those San Jose State Spartans?

The team picked to finish 11th in the 11-team Mountain West flew across the country on Wednesday night and, as 18-point underdogs, beat Hofstra, 79-71.

For the record, this isn’t the first time SJSU has started 1-0. In fact, it’s the fourth consecutive season the Spartans were 1-0 to begin a season, but the past three were all wins against non-Division I opponents.

The last time SJSU beat its first D-I opponent of the season was in 2009 (South Dakota State).

Former Lobo, Part 1

Former Lobo Troy Simons had himself a night.

The 6-3 senior guard who transferred to Kent State after the 2017-18 season at UNM to be closer to home and his daughter, played in his first regular season game since leaving Albuquerque on Wednesday night.

In a 97-58 win over Division III Hiram College, Simons started for the Golden Flashes and scored 17 points in just 10 minutes on the court thanks to going 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

Former Lobo, Part 2

So how about another former Lobo, one who’s now doing his thing in the NBA.

Former Lobo, Part 3

UNM invited former Lobo great and NBA player Kenny Thomas to Wednesday’s game and asked him to step out on the court for a round of applause during a first half media timeout.

He is the first of four scheduled former Lobo guests of Paul Weir on the season, with Danny Granger, Michael Cooper and former coach Gary Colson set to also be honored, though it is not yet clear which games those three will be honored at.

Video: Postgame presser

Here is video of Paul Weir addressing the media after Wednesday night’s game, as recorded/posted live to the Albuquerque Journal’s Facebook page:

Carrying the torch

OK, I can’t get enough of that San Jose State win.

I get that the season is all of two days old. But I also know it’s not every day San Jose State can say things like it has the best win of the season among all Mountain West teams.

Through Wednesday, here is the list of best wins by Mountain West teams ranked by the rating of each opponent prior to the game (MWC team that won the game in parenthesis):

• 123 – Hofstra (San Jose State)
• 242 – Purdue Ft. Wayne (UNLV)
• 268 – Texas Southern (San Diego State)
• 270 – Montana State (Utah State)
• 303 – Denver (Colorado State)
• 337 – Idaho State (Wyoming)

Note: Two teams (Nevada and Fresno State) lost their first game, UNM bead a Division II team, Boise State beat an NAIA team and Air Force has not yet played a game.

SJSU’s win is also the only road win so far for the league.

Not official?

A year ago, as many of you who follow me on Twitter (@GeoffGrammer) already know, I would never declare a game involving a Mountain West team “official” until a referee stopped the game to go stare at a video monitor for a review.

On that front, Wednesday was not an official game as the referees, including MWC officiating regular Eric Curry, never did a video review.

If they did, they would have enjoyed the video screen I scouted courtside before the game.


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