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Emptying the Notebook: Manigault’s career-high helps Lobos blast Wyoming

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UNM’s Corey Manigault waits for Wyoming’s A.J. Banks (2) and Kwane Marble lll (3) to come down so he can take it up for two of his 28 points in Saturday’s game in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Here are few extra notes, quotes, tweets, stats, videos and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook that didn’t fit into print after Saturday’s 97-68 Lobos win over Wyoming in the Pit:

Corey sets a new high

First, the disclaimer: Wyoming was without its 6-foot-10 usual starter Hunter Thompson.

Now, the other reality: Maybe it doesn’t matter. Corey Manigault continued looking the part of one of the best scoring big men in the Mountain West.

He’s averaged 18.5 points in the past six games, with a low of 12 vs. San Diego State on Jan. 29, and has been the focal point of opposing scouting reports with regularity of late.

Saturday, Manigault posted a career-high 28 points to go along with a 10-of-11 showing at the free throw line, nine rebounds, six drawn fouls, four assists and three steals. Oh, and he even hit two more 3-pointers, something he’s actually doing with a decent clip (he’s shooting a solid 35.3% from beyond the arc at 6-of-17).

But beyond his own stats, Manigault has taken on the role of the litmus test of sorts, for the Lobos. Head coach Paul Weir and Co. use Manigault’s offense early and often, but not just hoping it gets Manigault going, but to see how it will open up the game for other Lobos on the court.

“We kind of go to him early,” Weir said. “We went to the first play the game. We try and go to him early just seeing how teams are gonna guard him. We thought there would be a little more double teams. He had a little bit of room to operate down there and when he has room to operate, he’s a very good player.”

Manigault was one of three Lobos to score 20 or more points on Saturday, joined by Zane Martin (23) and Vance Jackson (20). In one nine minute stretch of the second half, that trio scored 30 straight Lobo points from 61 points to 91 points. Vance Jackson had a rather insane 14 consecutive points, including four 3-pointers in that run, too.

Here’s a recap of that entire 30-point second half stretch, which started with UNM up 61-46 and ended with UNM up 91-63:

• 2 – Manigault – paint, assisted by McGee (10:53)
• 3 – Jackson – 3-pointer, assisted by Martin (10:19)
• 3 – Jackson – 3-pointer, assisted by Manigault (9:52)
• 2 – Jackson – two free throws (9:18)
• 3 – Jackson – 3-pointer, assisted by Manigault (8:11)
• 3 – Jackson – 3-pointer, assisted by Lyle (7:27)
• 3 – Manigault – 3-pointer, assisted by Jackson (6:51)
• 2 – Manigault – dunk, off his own steal and fastbreak (6:31)
• 2 – Manigault – dunk, assisted by Martin (6:03)
• 2 – Martin – paint jumper (4:43)
• 2 – Martin – jumper (3:23)
• 3 – Jackson – 3-pointer, Martin assist (2:12)

TOTAL: 30 points (Jackson 17, Manigault 9, Martin 4); assists 8; 3-pointers 5; lead grew from 15 to 28.

As some who have already read the game story know, I talked a lot about Vance Jackson there and hope to expand on Martin’s game and role with the team not that JaQuan Lyle is back in an article either Sunday or Monday.

The gamer

Here is the gamer I filed from the Pit media room after Saturday’s game, which highlights Vance Jackson’s post-game thoughts about his hopes the team can still make a run toward the postseason and that people around the program, mainly on Twitter, should calm down:

He said it

“We still have valuable pieces. We’re still a great team. We just got to play together, just stay positive. Everybody just needs to calm down. I know everybody be on Twitter going crazy and stuff, but we all good.” — UNM Lobo junior forward Vance Jackson

A number to know: 50

Paul Weir won his 50th game as the Lobos head coach on Saturday. He is now 50-41 with UNM in just under three seasons and 78-47 overall in just under four seasons as a head coach.

Here is a list of the modern era (Bob King’s start in 1961 to present day) of Lobo basketball coaches when they reached their 50th win at UNM:

• 50-16 Bob King
• 50-16 Norm Ellenberger
• 50-21 Steve Alford
• 50-27 Dave Bliss
• 50-29 Craig Neal
• 50-31 Fran Fraschilla
• 50-38 Ritchie McKay
• 50-41 Paul Weir
• 50-47 Gary Colson
*Charlie Harrison did not reach 50 wins as the Lobos coach, going 6-22 in his lone 1979-80 season running the shot for UNM

Now, I won’t pretend to know what Bob King took over when he got to UNM, but from a quick flip through the rolodex of Lobo hoops history based on the rosters each coach inherited, this list doesn’t seem overly surprising where each coach is slotted.

Another (obscure) number to know: 17

Who cares about second best, right? Well, when it helps lead to an obscure stat, the guy writing this column does.

Saturday’s win puts UNM at 17-8 overall for the season.

That gives Weir his second-best (for now) win total as the coach of the Lobos, with at least seven more games to go this season. In the 21-year Mountain West era, four of the five Lobo coaches had 17 wins as their second highest win total in a season. Steve Alford is the exception with a high of 30 wins and a low of 22 wins. But the other four all plateaued at 17 wins for their second best season.

In chronological order for the other four Lobo coaches:

• Paul Weir: Best 19 wins, second best 17 wins (at least seven more games)
• Craig Neal: Best 27 wins, second best 17 wins (twice)
• Ritchie McKay: Best 26 wins, second best 17 wins
• Fran Fraschilla: Best 20 wins, second best 17 wins

Oh, those dunks…

The Lobos had nine dunks on Saturday. Here are two that, although coming clearly in garbage time, were still two of the more impressive dunks I’ve seen by the Lobos in the Pit this season.

First, here is an alley-oop from walk-on Clay Patterson to freshman forward Emmanuel Kuac with just about 90 seconds left in the game — a dunk you can hardly blame the freshman for getting excited about. But, as you can see, the flex celebration and bump, even if inadvertent, of an opposing player didn’t make Lobos coach Paul Weir all that happy, something he noted in his postgame presser when he acknowledged he loved the dunks at the end of the game, but was worried what message the two celebrations sent to the opponent in a blowout game.

Regardless, here’s a helluva dunk from Kuac:

And to cap the scoring for the Lobos at 97 points, here is Keith McGee’s dunk-back that he was on social media after the game politicking the fine folks in Bristol, Conn., to put on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10:

Another number to know: 4

Wyoming hit four 3-pointers on Saturday (of 21 attempts for a 19.0% clip).

That’s the fewest 3-pointers the Cowboys have hit in a Mountain West game this season (they hit 10 in a 14-point home loss to the Lobos on Dec. 7).

For a Lobos defense that had given up 43 made 3-pointers in their three previous games, all losses, that was a heck of a turnaround.

On the other end of the court, the 12 made 3’s by the Lobos was the second most Wyoming allowed to a Mountain West team this season and tied for second most the Lobos have made in a a game this season (they’ve hit 12 in back to back games, including last weekend’s loss at Fresno State).

Lyle’s return

Depending on what you look for, the statline for JaQuan Lyle’s return after missing four games was either poor or pretty good.

The bad: He shot 2-of-10 from the floor (1-of-6 from 3) and the team’s seasonlong leading scorer had just 5 points in the game.

The good: The Lobos were statistically at their best with him on the floor despite his own shooting struggles. Lyle had a game-best plus-28 plus/minus stat, meaning the Lobos outscored Wyoming by 28 points in the 35:09 he played. The second best plus/minus in the game was a plus-23 for both Manigault and McGee.

UNM coach Paul Weir said this of the return of Lyle and Jackson after the game and how their presence on the floor just opens things up for the rest of the team to play more freely:

“It slides everybody kind of down the depth chart so to speak,” Weir said. “They’re out there kind of taking the bullet and it just allows those other guys to kind of come in to less pressure situations. They have different guys guarding them. The reality is JaQuan and Vance are going to be guarded by two of the better players, so now Makuach Maluach and Keith McGee and Zane Martin are just gonna have better matchups on the floor.”

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas…

It took a banked in game winner with 1 second left on the clock in the Thomas & Mack Center against Fresno State, but the Runnin’ Rebels were able to break that four-game losing streak with a 68-67 home win thanks to Marvin Coleman…

Around the Mountain

There was a full slate of five games in the Mountain West on Saturday with three games coming on Tuesday and another two on Wednesday:

SATURDAY
• No. 4 San Diego State 89, Air Force 74
• New Mexico 97, Wyoming 68
• Nevada 95, San Jose State 77
• UNLV 68, Fresno State 67
• Utah State 70, Boise State 61

TUESDAY
• Air Force at Boise State, 6 PT/7 MT
• Utah State at Colorado State, 6:30 PT/7:30 MT
• New Mexico at No. 4 San Diego State, 8 PT/9 MT

WEDNESDAY
• Nevada at UNLV, 7 PT/8 MT
• Fresno State at San Jose State, 7 PT/8 MT

CSU vs. Bye

The Colorado State Rams, the one Mountain West team not playing on Saturday, still managed arguably the best night in the standings in the league, moving into sole possession of second place at 8-4.

Mountain West standings

Here are the Mountain West standings through Saturday, with spots 2-7 now separated by just 2.0 games:

13-0 San Diego State
8-4 Colorado State
8-5 Boise State
8-5 Utah State
8-5 Nevada
7-5 UNLV
6-6 New Mexico
4-9 Fresno State
3-9 Air Force
3-9 San Jose State
1-12 Wyoming

And for those interested in the +/- or home/road standings, which award a plus-1 for a road win and a minus-1 for a home loss:
+7 SDSU
+2 CSU
+2 BSU
+1 UtSt
+1 Nevada
+1 UNLV
0 UNM
-2 FS
-3 AFA
-3 SJSU
-6 Wyo

Meanwhile, in Laramie…

It was a UNM Lobos men’s and women’s sweep on Saturday:

And how did they get to that overtime? Of course with a big game-tying bucket from Jaedyn De La Cerda, the Lobo with clearly the best first name in college basketball (same name and spelling as my 10-year-old daughter, for those scoring at home)…

Another number to know: 19

The Lobos out-rebounded Wyoming by 19 (46-27), the largest rebounding margin for the Lobos this season.

The Lobos previous high was 18, also against Wyoming on Dec. 7 in Laramie.

Announced attendance

The announced attendance for Saturday’s game in the Pit: 10,732

Here’s a video I took just prior to tip-off of the Pit crowd…

Still no place like the Pit

The Lobos had lost five of the last six games overall before the Wyoming game, and one of those was an embarrassing one at home to San Diego State on Jan. 29 by 28 points.

So maybe that’s why it seems lost in Saturday’s win that the Lobos improved to 14-1 in the Pit this season, matching the best 15-game start at home for the Lobos since the 2012-13 season when UNM finished with a 15-1 record in its home arena.

“We’ve had a heckuva year here at the Pit, obviously removing our last effort here,” UNM coach Paul Weir said, referring to the SDSU loss. “But overall, we’ve had a lot of success here. The guys have played well here.”

Take a look at the scoring margin differences in the Lobos last three games in the Pit — a win vs. San Jose State, a loss vs No. 4 San Diego State and a win vs. Wyoming:

• +27 points: UNM beat San Jose State, 86-59, on Jan. 21
• -28 points: UNM lose to San Diego State, 85-57, on Jan. 29
• +29 points: UNM beat Wyoming, 97-68, on Saturday

Video: Weir, Manigault, Jackson

Here’s a look at the postgame video from the Journal of UNM coach Paul Weir and players Corey Manigault and Vance Jackson:

He said it, Part 2

“We know that this was a team that takes tough shots. If they see a couple go in, the rim gets bigger and they play with more emotion. The crowd gets into the game so you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, but when Jackson starting making jab 3s, I thought that just opened it up for them as a group.” — Wyoming coach Allen Edwards

Meanwhile, in Houston…

It wasn’t all about Lobo hoops for Albuquerque sports fans on Saturday. Albuquerque’s Jon “Bones” Jones defended his light heavyweight title, breaking the UFC record for most title defenses:

Plus/minus

Here are the Lobos’ plus/minus stats from Saturday’s win over Wyoming with minutes in parenthesis:

+28 JaQuan Lyle (35:09)
+23 Corey Manigault (33:02)
+23 Keith McGee (23:32)
+21 Zane Martin (24:43)
+20 Vance Jackson (27:22)
+17 Tavian Percy (14:39)
+11 Vante Hendrix (12:33)
+1 Clay Patterson (2:04)
+1 Kurt Wegscheider (2:04)
+1 Jordan Arroyo (2:04)
0 Emmanuel Kuac (7:18)
-1 Makuach Maluach (15:30)

Meanwhile, at halftime…

The Black Greek Letter Organizations of UNM held down the halftime show at Saturday’s Lobo game as part of the game’s Black History Month theme.

Here are a couple of looks…

… and …

Box score

Here’s a picture of the boxscore handed out on press row at the end of the game:

And for those who prefer the digital version, CLICK HERE.

Grammer’s Guesses

The Guesses went a strong 4-1 on Saturday (and was just a hook away from a 5-0 night on that 9-point Utah State win). I’m still just 30-36-2 on the season.

My 10-year-old daughter’s coin flip picks went 3-2 and she’s now 32-34-2.

And, of course, my 6-month-old’s Baby Girl Grammer Bonus Pick hit, putting her at 8-6 on the season.

Because, of course.

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