Here are some extra stats, notes, quotes, videos and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Wednesday’s 93-78 UNM Lobos win over Green Bay in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit:
Entering the season, UNM Lobos head coach Paul Weir and senior center Carlton Bragg casually tossed around the notion of a rather lofty goal for the 6-foot-10 former Kansas Jayhawk.
That goal? Have Bragg lead the nation in rebounding, something done last season by another Mountain West player who is also a senior in the league this season, Colorado State’s Nico Carvacho, who averaged 12.9 rebounds per game.
“That’s one of the biggest goals for this year, for sure,” said Bragg. “… Sky’s the limit.”
Bragg opened the season against much smaller teams and grabbed just six rebounds (none offensive) against Division II Eastern New Mexico and only four (one offensive) against CSU-Northridge.
“He was frustrated that the rebounds just weren’t coming,” Weir said.
Sure, the Lobos’ 60 percent shooting clip in those games made it hard to get many offensive board opportunities, but the numbers were still far too low for the liking of Bragg, who last year posted a season-high 20 rebounds at Wyoming and had eight double-digit rebound games among the 23 he played.
Wednesday against Green Bay in 28 minutes, 46 seconds on the floor, Bragg rebounded well from the slow start to the season on the boards, grabbing 16 boards (three offensive) and the Lobos out-rebounded the Phoenix 47-38.
It’s a performance his coach thinks can become more norm than outlier.
“He’s very capable” of getting 16 rebounds most games this season, Weir said
Whether or not Bragg even comes close to being a national leader as a rebounder remains to be seen. In the meantime, nobody is questioning the guy can dunk.
— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) November 14, 2019
The return of Gary Colson
I’ll have a full article written sometime Thursday for online and for Friday’s Journal print edition, but for now, I wanted to share a link to the video I recorded before Wednesday night’s game of former UNM Lobos coach Gary Colson, who returned to the Pit at the request of current Lobos head coach Paul Weir, who Colson raved about.
For now, here’s the video:
Here is a link to the game story I filed from the media room in the Pit on Wednesday night:
A number to know: 0.90
The Lobos defense held Green Bay to 0.90 points per possession. That’s good.
Some old school fans don’t care to hear the defense is actually playing well when Lobo opponents are averaging 73.0 points per game, but considering the pace at which the games have played out, they are, in fact, stringing together some strong defensive outings. Green Bay, for instance is ranked as having the 6th fastest tempo among 353 Division I teams this season and there were 87 possessions in the game, leaving a whole lot more scoring opportunities on the board for both teams.
The 0.90 points per possession on Wednesday, marks the third consecutive game UNM’s defense has held an opponent under 1.0 point per possession, the general benchmark for efficiency statistics (i.e. holding a team under 1.0 PPP is good, scoring more than 1.0 PPP is good).
UNM didn’t hold three consecutive opponents under 1.0 points per possession during any stretch of Paul Weir’s first season (2017-18). Last season, the team did so once, Dec. 30 through Jan. 5 (NAIA College of the Southwest 0.61, Air Force 0.84 and Nevada 0.81).
Here is what Lobo opponents have scored per possession so far this season:
• 0.84 – DII Eastern New Mexico
• 0.93 – CSU-Northridge
• 0.90 – Green Bay
He said it
“They’re pretty talented. I told my team, if they can get on a roll and play pretty well, they can be a team that could make some noise in March. They’re as talented as anybody we’ve played.” — Green Bay coach Linc Darner, on the Lobos. Darner’s team opened the season to nationally ranked Purdue
Meanwhile, from Tuesday night (Part 1)
In case you missed it, the UTEP Miners on Tuesday night ended what seemed like a few decades long losing streak to the New Mexico State Aggies, beating NMSU 65-50 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
The Rodney Terry-coached Miners are legit this season and neither road game next week for the Lobos (Nov. 19 at UTEP or Nov. 21 at NMSU) will be easy. The Lobos will likely be betting underdogs in both games.
— UTEP Men’s Basketball (@UTEP_MBB) November 13, 2019
The Lobos have three technical fouls on three players in three games this season:
• 1, JaQuan Lyle on Wednesday vs. Green Bay
• 1, Zane Martin on Nov. 6 vs. Eastern New Mexico
• 1, Corey Manigault on Nov. 6 vs. Eastern New Mexico
Meanwhile, on Montezuma Mesa…
The 3-0 San Diego State Aztecs rolled with a 25-point win over Grand Canyon, which now employs former SDSU assistant and former NMSU and UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies as the Lopes’ associate head coach.
H2 | GAME.
— Aztec M. Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) November 14, 2019
Around the Mountain…
There were four games around the Mountain West on Wednesday night and five more on Tuesday.
• CS-Fullerton 60, Wyoming 53
• New Mexico 93, Green Bay 78
• Colorado State 80, Omaha 65
• San Diego State 86, Grand Canyon 61
• No. 17 Utah State 97, Denver 56
• Air Force 69, Army 57
• Nevada 80, UT-Arlington 73
• San Diego 72, Fresno State 66 (OT)
• California 79, UNLV 75 (OT)
Wednesday’s game was actually the first of two “regional site” games played as a part of the Nov. 25-26 Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., where UNM will play Auburn (Nov. 25) and then either Wisconsin or Richmond (Nov. 25).
Dreamstyle Arena The Pit getting dressed up for it’s big night. pic.twitter.com/A3pUc4xuOo
— Legends Classic (@LegendsBBall) November 13, 2019
Here are the two scores from Wednesday’s “Legends” games:
• Wisconsin 83, McNeese State 63
• New Mexico 93, Green Bay 78
Meanwhile, from Tuesday night (Part 2)
Maybe my favorite coach in the Mountain West hit a milestone on Tuesday night when Air Force beat Army, 69-57.
For Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich, it was career coaching victory No. 100, all with the Academy.
— Air Force Men’s Basketball (@AF_MBB) November 13, 2019
The announced attendance for Wednesday’s game at Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit: 10,137
Saturday: McNeese State at UNM, 4 p.m., 770 AM/94.5 FM, TheMW.com/watch (no TV)
Did you know McNeese State is coached by Heath Schroyer, who was a Mountain West head coach at Wyoming from 2008-2011. Schroyer went 1-7 in the regular season against the Lobos in that time and 2-7 overall including a 2009 Mountain West Tournament win.
Twining and Dining
For all games streamed this season on TheMW.com, ProView Networks got the contract to do the broadcast (no, they are not responsible for the issues the stream has been having, I’m told). That means Adam Diehl is on the primary play-by-play duties, and when Tavian Percy nailed his first 3-pointer of the season on Wednesday, Diehl unleashed another of this “Twining and Dining” 3-point calls.
— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) November 14, 2019
The always popular Lobo +/- stats from Wednesday:
+16 Makuach Maluach
+15 Carlton Bragg
+11 JaQuan Lyle
+11 JJ Caldwell
+10 Tavian Percy*
+6 Zane Martin
+5 Corey Manigault
+3 Vance Jackson
-2 Keith McGee
*Considering Percy played just 7:22 (a figure I keep saying is going to creep up if he keeps defending like he has been), that’s a very impressive plus-10 figure for the Lobos. Yes, small sample size, but so far it appears clear while Percy is on the court, something is working well for UNM as the sophomore also had a plus-12 figure in Saturday’s CSU-Northridge win while playing only 13 minutes.
Here is a link to the video I took of the postgame press conference with UNM Lobos head coach Paul Weir and players Carlton Bragg and Makuach Maluach, as posted to the Journal’s Facebook page:
He said it, Part 2
“It’s going to come. It’s coming. It’s coming. I’m going to knock some down.” — UNM Lobos forward Carlton Bragg on his desire to hit a 3-pointer this season (he was 0-for-1 Wednesday, but showed how well he’s extended his range in the offseason with a couple long jumpers inside the arc.
Talking Grammer, Episode 21
In Wednesday’s Journal, I had a feature on UNM’s special assistant to the head coach, Craig Snow, the former UNM assistant who went off for five seasons to be the head coach of the D-II New Mexico Highlands Cowboys, but is back helping with the Lobos offensive schemes this season.
The article (HERE) had an accompanying hourlong podcast, which is episode 21 of the Talking Grammer podcast.
For those who like the pics of the sheet they actually hand out to us at the game…
Final stat sheet: UNM 93, Green Bay 78 pic.twitter.com/Qf8AbbFQVX
— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) November 14, 2019
And if you just want a link to the web version of the stats, HERE you go.